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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in
Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working
Practice
Final Report
Lead Researchers
Bronwyn Hegarty
Merrolee Penman
Institutional Researchers
Cheryl Brown
Dawn Coburn
Beverley Gower
Oriel Kelly
Grant Sherson
Gordon Suddaby
Project Manager
Maurice Moore
September 2005
Prepared with the assistance of a Ministry of Education contract to UCOL,
Palmerston North, New Zealand.
ISBN 0-478-13384-7
ISBN 0-478-13385-5 (Internet)
© Copyright: UCOL - Universal College of Learning, 2005
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ........................................................................................ 1
Definitions........................................................................................................ 3
Chapter One: Introduction.............................................................................. 4
1.1 Overview ................................................................................................................ 4
1.2 Rationale for the Project......................................................................................... 4
1.3 Research Goals ....................................................................................................... 5
1.4 Stages of the Project ............................................................................................... 5
1.5 Literature Review and Main Points........................................................................ 6
Chapter Two: Methodology ............................................................................ 8
2.1 Research Design ..................................................................................................... 8
Chapter Three: Results................................................................................. 13
3.1 Focus Group Findings .......................................................................................... 13
3.2 Online Questionnaire............................................................................................ 20
3.3 Interviews ............................................................................................................. 38
Chapter Four: Case Studies Of Individuals................................................. 39
4.1 - Participant 2 ....................................................................................................... 39
4.2 - Participant 13 ..................................................................................................... 42
4.3 - Participant 76 ..................................................................................................... 44
4.4 - Participant 91 ..................................................................................................... 46
4.5 - Participant 49 ..................................................................................................... 49
4.6 - Participant 81 ..................................................................................................... 51
Chapter Five: Case Studies Of Efficacy And Staff Development.............. 54
5.1 Self-efficacy for eLearning................................................................................... 54
5.2 eLearning Tools and Methods.............................................................................. 57
5.3 Staff development................................................................................................. 75
5.4 Learning Strategies for Teachers......................................................................... 85
5.5 Application of Staff Development and eTeaching Methods ................................ 97
5.6 Suggestions......................................................................................................... 101
Chapter Six: Discussion, Conclusions and Future Research ................. 105
6.1 Staff Development and Adoption of eLearning ................................................. 105
6.2 Overview of Six Individual Case Studies........................................................... 113
6.3 Were the Research Questions Answered?.......................................................... 114
6.4 Limitations of the research ................................................................................. 115
6.5 Conclusions ........................................................................................................ 116
6.6 Implications for Further Study ........................................................................... 117
References................................................................................................... 118
APPENDIX - A : FOCUS GROUP QUESTIONS .......................................... A-1
APPENDIX - B : QUESTIONNAIRES........................................................... B-1
APPENDIX - C : INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................................. C-1
APPENDIX - D : DATA FROM ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE ........................ D-1
Figures and Tables
Figure 1: Four Factors which Influence the Effectiveness of Staff Development Models
.......................................................................................................................................... 6
Figure 2: Overall Efficacy using eLearning Tools and Methods in Teaching (n=82) ... 23
Figure 3: Frequency of high and very high efficacy for five aspects of eLearning (n=82)
........................................................................................................................................ 23
Figure 4: Mean Efficacy scores for Personal Efficacy (n=82)...................................... 25
Figure 5: Average Efficacy Score for Using eLearning Tools (n=82).......................... 26
Figure 6: Average Efficacy Score for Setting up an Online Course (n=82)................... 27
Figure 7: Average Efficacy Score for Personal Characteristics (n=82) ......................... 28
Figure 8: Frequency of Pedagogical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n=82)
........................................................................................................................................ 30
Figure 9: Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own and Other Institutions (n=82)
........................................................................................................................................ 31
Figure 10: Frequency of Informal Staff Development (n = 82) ..................................... 32
Figure 11: Learning Strategies used by Academic Staff to Develop Skills for e-Learning
(n=82) ............................................................................................................................. 34
Figure D-1: Frequency of General Computing Instruction (n=82) D-4
Figure D-2: Frequency of Technical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n-82)
D-5
Figure D-3: Frequency of Pedagogical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction
(n=82) D-5
Figure D-4: Frequency of Specialist Software Instruction (n=82) D-6
Table 1: Formal staff development options.................................................................... 13
Table 2: Informal options for staff development in eLearning ...................................... 17
Table 3: Comparison of teaching and eTeaching........................................................... 20
Table 4: Relationships between eTeaching and efficacy (n = 82).................................. 21
Table 5: Significant relationships between efficacy scores of six characteristics and
question........................................................................................................................... 24
Table 6: Mean and standard deviation and correlation between the number of formal
and informal staff development sessions........................................................................ 31
Table 7: Formal qualifications completed by participants and on offer by institutions
participating in the study. ............................................................................................... 79
Table 8: Courses mentioned by participants in the study............................................... 97
Table D-1: Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own or Other Institution (n=82)
...................................................................................................................................... D-2
Table D-2 : Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own or Other Institution (n=82)
...................................................................................................................................... D-2
Table D-3: Different Modes and Types of Formal Staff development at Own Institution
(n=82) ........................................................................................................................... D-4
Table D-4: Frequency of choice for different types of informal staff development. ... D-6
Table D-5: Types of Learning Strategies for eLearning Skill Development .............. D-7
Acknowledgements
The research team is very grateful to the following people for their valuable
contributions to the project:
Trevor Billany, Massey University, for his contribution to focus group and early part of
the project.
Derek Christie, WINTEC, for advice and assistance with statistics.
James Hegarty, PhD, Dunedin, for consultancy services concerning the self-efficacy
section of the questionnaire and analysis.
Mark Nichols, UCOL, for his contribution to the focus group interviews, questionnaire
and literature review.
The Expert Panel for their support and feedback, namely: Cathy Gunn, PhD, University
of Auckland; Carmel McNaught, PhD; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Renata
Phelps, PhD, Southern Cross University; Lai Wing, PhD, University of Otago.
Sheila Grainger, PhD, UCOL, for feedback on documents.
Research assistants from each of the partner institutions.
Participants for their time and interest in the project.
TOPNZ (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand) and CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic
Institute of Technology) staff (Michelle Strand and Nicky Page, PhD) for coordinating
participants from their institutions to pre-test the questionnaire.
1
Executive Summary
This research project was conducted to provide a snapshot of staff development and
self-efficacy in eLearning in the tertiary sector in New Zealand. The project was funded
from the 2004-2005 Tertiary e-Learning Research Fund (TeLRF), administered by the
Ministry of Education as part of their Tertiary Education Strategy 2002-2007.
Researchers and participants for the project were from six institutions, namely:
• UCOL (Universal College of Learning) the lead institution,
• Otago Polytechnic as lead researchers,
• MIT (Manukau Institute of Technology),
• WINTEC (Waikato Institute of Technology),
• Dunedin College of Education and
• Massey University.
An expert panel of researchers from the field of eLearning in New Zealand and
Australia were invited to oversee research procedures and findings.
Rationale
The research project was conducted to investigate whether staff development for
eLearning in place at the six institutions for eLearning helped staff develop their
capability and confidence to utilise new technologies for teaching. Staff development
has been identified by other researchers as a factor associated with the adoption of
eLearning in the tertiary sector. The researchers were aware of a number of different
models of staff development in use, categorised as either competency-based work-shops
for technical skills, just-in-time) or capability-based (metacognitive strategies e.g.
mentoring) or formal qualifications in eLearning. It was understood from other research
studies, that timely and appropriate staff development, in a supportive and strategic
institutional culture, was more likely to lead to an enhanced adoption of eLearning
Research Process
Case study methodology was used to investigate three main questions: the range of
eLearning staff development models offered by New Zealand tertiary providers; how
staff development models prepared academic staff for eLearning and the relationship to
self-efficacy; why some models were more effective than others. In other words this
research aimed to investigate the effect of meta-cognitive strategies on self-efficacy, and
the association with how learners applied their knowledge. The research was conducted
in four stages:
Stage 1: focus groups were carried out to establish common terms used by staff in
various institutions to aid in the development in the questionnaire
Stage 2: implementation of an online questionnaire to survey self-efficacy of staff in
eLearning as facilitated through staff development (formal and informal) opportunities,
Stage 3: individual interviews of selected staff.
Stage 4: two types of case study were developed - individual and thematic – to provide
a snapshot of the current situation with staff development for eLearning. The findings
are merely representative of polytechnic, university and college of education academic
staff not conclusive regarding the tertiary sector.
2
In addition an in-depth literature review was used to inform the development of the
questionnaire, and design of the individual interviews. The qualitative data (comments
on online questionnaire and interviews) was interpreted using thematic analyses. The
quantitative data (self rating scores) was analysed using descriptive statistics.
Findings
Overall, participants scored high self-efficacy for eLearning, and the majority had some
experience in eTeaching. Most people had attended formal staff development
workshops, and all participants used a wide range of strategies for self-directed staff
development (informal). There were four main findings:
• There was a predominance of competency-based workshops and support offered
by all six institutions (face-to-face, online, one-on-one, mentoring) as well as
qualifications, just-in-time support, show casing and visiting expert seminars.
• Informal staff development was the most common practice and there was
evidence of staff using metacognitive strategies for their learning.
• Existing formal staff development models in the six institutions were not
adequate to assist staff to fully develop their capability and potential for
eLearning as they were mainly providing a beginning competency.
• The findings of this project were consistent with research elsewhere in the New
Zealand tertiary sector, for example, Mitchell, Clayton, Gower, Barr and Bright
(2005) in relation to factors impacting on staff who engage with eLearning, and
some of the impediments which may affect adoption of eLearning, e.g. time and
adequate support.
Recommendations
The following recommendations are made in the interests of developing capability for
both academic and support staff and to extend the potential of eLearning for staff and
students alike.
1. Apply a multi-faceted approach to staff development using competency-based
and capability-based methods. Staff development should be designed to meet
each institution’s specific needs, and situated in the programmes and teaching
methods required by staff, as opposed to staff having to take training focussed
on a LMS and work to fit their teaching to it.
a. Flexible delivery methods, and a variety of strategies to promote
experimentation and exploration, would make staff development
accessible to a broader selection of staff.
b. A project team approach could be used to foster staff through
metacognitive learning process with both training and scholarly activity
used to cover technical and pedagogical aspects. Within the team would
be a number of peers and the appropriate support personnel including an
expert peer as a mentor. Additionally, this approach would promote a
community of practice and result in a “snowball” effect on other staff.
2. Provide incentives including funding, time release and promotion for staff who
engage in project team, mentoring and community of practice approaches to
staff development for the planning and implementation of flexible courses.
Suggestions for further research are listed in Chapter Six.
3
Definitions
eLearning - the use of multimedia technologies (e.g. Internet-based, CDROM technologies,
video, audio, teleconference) as resources for learning.
eTeaching - the use of multimedia technologies for teaching.
Metacognitive strategies – involve deep learning and active strategies which self-regulated
learners use to plan, organise, self-teach, self-monitor and self-evaluate as part of their
learning process.
Self-efficacy - the belief people have in their own abilities to perform in particular areas. The
higher the level of self-efficacy the more confident one is to deal with challenges.
Formal staff development - courses/workshops as well as staff development that might
occur through mentoring or facilitating. The type of staff development included here is
formally recognised, part of your workload, remunerated possibly and may or may not be
driven by staff developers.
Informal staff development - learning that takes place outside of structured or contracted
learning situations. It is not formally recognised, may not be a recognised part of workload,
is not remunerated, and may or may not be driven by Head of School/Department, Dean or
Staff Developers.
4
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Overview
This project was one of the 2004-2005 Tertiary e-Learning Research Fund (TeLRF)
contracts awarded by the Ministry of Education. Researchers for the project were from
several institutions which currently provide staff development training for academic staff
involved in eLearning.
UCOL (Universal College of Learning) was the lead institution for project management,
Otago Polytechnic was the lead institution for research, and four other institutions also
provided researchers and participants. They were MIT (Manukau Institute of Technology),
WINTEC (Waikato Institute of Technology), Dunedin College of Education and Massey
University. . TOPNZ (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand) and CPIT (Christchurch
Polytechnic Institute of Technology) provided participants for a pilot to test the
questionnaire. An expert panel was established from a pool of eLearning colleagues who
were well known in New Zealand and Australia and their brief was to oversee research
procedures and findings.
1.2 Rationale for the Project
If institutional productivity in eLearning was affected by staff inadequately skilled and
resourced in ICT (information and communication technologies) and pedagogy for online
teaching and learning, an investigation such as this project would help to uncover the
missing links. At the time of the research, several different models of staff development were
being used in New Zealand for eLearning, such as:
• Competency-based training in the form of short ‘hands on’ workshops which focus
on the acquisition of ICT and LMS1
skills;
• Capability-based professional development which incorporates metacognitive
strategies for learning
• Workshops and courses which address the theory of pedagogy, design and online
facilitation
• Individual and group training for specific vocational areas
• Mentoring
• ‘Just in time’ and ‘as needed’ support
• Professional development for eLearning – conferences, literature, discussion
lists/forums, eLearning qualifications, networking, communities of practice
The researchers believed that capability in eLearning was wider than just the acquisition of
technical skills (Ellis and Phelps, 1999; Phelps, Ellis, and Hase, 2001; Phelps, & Ellis, 2002;
Phelps, accepted 2005). They saw a need for staff development which was designed to help
teaching staff overcome fear and anxiety, and motivate them to become involved in new
technologies for teaching. Also there was a need to address pedagogy and educational
design for the online environment, and challenge staff to broaden their experience.
Where staff were inadequately skilled for eTeaching, course development for online delivery
was often kept at a basic level with the provision of course notes and some email
communication. Additionally, the development and design of courses which fully embrace
what many authorities believe are quality indicators, e.g. resource-based learning (RBL) and
constructivist methods, appeared to be limited. In the interests of quality eLearning, several
1
Learning Management System
5
researchers (2
see reference list) and quality assurance bodies (3
see reference list) have looked
for a connection between quality learning experiences and skilled staff. It appeared that low
level ICT skills, as well as an unwillingness to experiment and try new ways of teaching,
was linked to self-efficacy,4
and success with eLearning. It was believed that a research
project to examine existing staff development models and their effectiveness would inform
future professional development strategies for eLearning both nationally and internationally.
1.3 Research Goals
The research goals were to:
• Investigate a range of staff development (SD) models for eLearning, offered by a
cross section of New Zealand institutions, in the Polytechnic, University and College
of Education sectors, using case study research methodology.
• Compare staff experiences with a range of SD models, for example, traditional ICT
(information and communication technology) competency-based training workshops;
capability-based eLearning and alternative models – ‘just in time’, 1:1 customised
group training, mentoring etc.
• Explore staff experiences with eLearning through the links between staff
development models (ICT training versus capability-based PD) and eLearning self-
efficacy, and subsequent application to course development.
The research project used focus groups, a questionnaire, interviews and content analysis of
questionnaire comments and interviews to gather data for the establishment of a series of
case studies depicting the type of staff development models in use to prepare staff for
eLearning. The data were also collected to determine whether staff development and self-
efficacy with eLearning were linked to the way staff actually teach online.
1.4 Stages of the Project
The research was conducted in four stages:
Stage 1- Focus Group
Participants were invited to join in a focus group session to establish a foundation for
existing staff development models and terminology to be used in the questionnaire. Eight to
ten participants at each of the institutions involved in the research project contributed to a
structured focus group discussion.
Stage 2- Online Questionnaire
A two part questionnaire was developed to examine self-efficacy with eLearning (part A)
and experiences with staff development for eLearning (part B). Part A was developed in
consultation with a clinical psychologist and an Expert Panel. This part of the questionnaire
was tested for internal criterion validity with a pilot sample. The questionnaire was
administered online.
2
(Schwier, 1995; Bednar et al, 1995; Hedberg, Brown & Arrighi, 1997; Kennedy, 1997; Robyler, Edwards and Havriluk, 1997; Wilson,
1997; Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 1999; Phipps and Merisotis, 2000; Brennan, R. McFadden, M. & Law, E. 2001; Mayes, 2001; Nichols,
2001; NSDC/NICI, 2001; Rowlands 2001; Herrington, Oliver and Reeves, 2002; Husson and Waterman; 2002; Sims, 2003)
3
ANTA, 2002; Haddad and Draxler, 2002; DfES, 2003; Ministry of Education, 2004; Parker, 2004)
4
Self-efficacy is about the belief people have in their own abilities to perform in particular areas (Pajares, 2002).
6
Stage 3- Interview
Participants who filled out the online questionnaire were invited to submit their name and
contact details if they were willing to be interviewed. Institutions partnered up for the
interview process so that staff could be interviewed by a researcher external to their own
institution. Up to five interviews were conducted per institution.
Stage 4 – Case Studies
Two types of case studies were developed. Case studies about individual situations related to
staff development and eLearning and case studies in relation to the themes which emerged
from content analysis of the online questionnaire and subsequent interviews. These provide a
snapshot of specific examples and also an overview of what is happening in eLearning in the
tertiary sector in New Zealand.
1.5 Literature Review and Main Points
A literature review was undertaken so that a comparison with staff development models
could be made and information gathered about factors affecting adoption of eLearning, self-
efficacy and eLearning and institutional efficacy. The literature was also used to establish
baseline questions for the online questionnaire by finding out what had already been done in
the area of staff development, self-efficacy and technology. The following diagrams
illustrate some of the main points established by the literature review.
Figure 1: Four Factors which Influence the Effectiveness of Staff Development Models
7
8
Chapter Two: Methodology
The lead researchers were responsible for the research design, and along with researchers
from the other five participating institutions collaborated to collect and analyse data. The
sample was wide-ranging but kept at a manageable size.
The study used four major methods to collect and present data: Focus Groups, online
questionnaire, interviews and case studies.
2.1 Research Design
Case study research (Gall et al., 1996; Mason, 1992b) was selected as the most appropriate
methodology to investigate the research questions. Gall et al. (1996) clearly state that case
study is utilised as a methodology where the researcher plans to shed light on a phenomenon.
In this study, the phenomenon chosen was the process of training and professional
development (PD) in information and communication technology (ICT) for teaching online,
which as yet has little research on its effectiveness. Gall et al. (1996) state that, the next step
in using case study methods is to select a case for intensive study. In this study, the cases
selected were existing staff development courses offered by a range of tertiary providers.
Having selected the case study, the next stage was to identify the focus of the case on which
the data collection and analysis would concentrate. In this study the focus of the research
was intended to be whether metacognitive strategies enhanced self-efficacy with eLearning
and whether self-efficacy affected the type of course design utilized for eLearning. We
examined learning strategies in focus group sessions, as part of the online questionnaire and
in interviews to find out how self-efficacy and staff development both influenced and shaped
eTeaching.
Research Questions
Three research questions were investigated:
• What is the range of eLearning staff development models offered by New Zealand
tertiary providers?
• How do SD models prepare academic staff for eLearning?
o Are staff experiences of eLearning and levels of self-efficacy related to the
type of staff development provided (ICT training versus capability-based PD
or alternatives)?
• Why are some staff development models more effective than others?
o Does the use of metacognitive strategies in professional development have an
effect on self-efficacy levels of learners?
o Does the level of self-efficacy influence staff experiences of eLearning and
how they apply their knowledge to courses using online delivery. Data
Collection
The sample size was wide ranging but kept to a manageable size. A range of qualitative and
quantitative data collection and analysis techniques were used. Focus groups, an online
questionnaire and individual interviews were used to collect data. Statistical analyses such as
frequency, means, median and mode as well as Pearson’s5 correlations and probabilities
5
Karl Pearson’s product-moment correlation
9
were calculated on both self-efficacy and staff development data from the online
questionnaire. Content analysis was undertaken on qualitative data from the questionnaire
and from transcribed interview data. Content analysis is an interpretive method, allowing
for themes to emerge from the texts and the voice of the participant to be heard.
Focus Groups
Firstly, focus groups were initiated to help develop sampling tools i.e. inform terminology
and questions for the online questionnaire and also to gather some initial information about
participants’ experiences with eLearning. Participants in the focus group sessions included
staff developers, training coordinators, eLearning support staff, instructional designers,
academic staff who had attended formal staff development sessions for eLearning and staff
who taught online. At the six participating institutions groups of 6-8 people were assembled
for the focus group sessions.
Three questions were put to each focus group. (See full details in Appendix A.)
1. What type of formal staff development support is offered at your institution to
prepare you for eLearning?
2. What type of informal staff development support is offered at your institution to
prepare you for eLearning?
3. What types of strategies for eLearning have you used, or are encouraged to use
through formal or informal learning?
Focus group sessions were either recorded as notes and summarised by the facilitator or
recorded on tape and transcribed. Subsequently, the information was used to develop an
online questionnaire. An overview of the findings of the focus group sessions is presented in
the results section.
10
Online Questionnaire
A total of 82 participants across all six institutions completed the online questionnaire which
had three sections: general information (demographics), self-efficacy for eLearning and staff
development (Appendix B).
i. General information (demographics)
Definitions of eTeaching and eLearning were provided as: The use of multimedia
technologies (e.g. Internet-based, CDROM technologies, video, audio, teleconference)
resources for teaching and learning respectively. General information included demographics
as well as information about eTeaching and eLearning qualifications.
ii. Self-efficacy for eLearning
Self-efficacy questions were taken from work conducted by others in the area of measuring
confidence associated with computer use and training (Compeau, Higgins & Huff, 1999;
Phelps, 2002). The questions were modified and divided into five sections (see Appendix B)
with the assistance of a consultant clinical psychologist who also provided help with testing
validity and scoring of the responses.
The five sections on self-efficacy examined were:
1. Personal efficacy using computer technology/eLearning tools and methods for
teaching.
2. Confidence using specific eLearning tools.
3. Confidence when undertaking a project for online delivery.
4. Personal characteristics when learning new software or using eLearning tools and
facilities.
5. Overall confidence using eLearning tools and methods.
Validity testing
Validity was measured through pilot testing the self-efficacy part of the questionnaire against
parts of a self-efficacy questionnaire used by Phelps (2002) (Appendix B). Participants at
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and The Open Polytechnic New Zealand
were invited to participate in pilot testing (n=9). The sample was too small to ascertain
statistical Internal criterion validity, therefore professional judgement was provided by the
consultant who had been contracted to provide advice about the self-efficacy elements of the
project.
iii. Staff Development
In this section, data were collected to research both formal and informal methods of staff
development, the learning strategies which were used by participants and how learning and
knowledge gained through staff development was applied to eTeaching. Participants were
asked about the types of staff development they had undertaken in preparation for eLearning
over the last 10 years. Definitions were provided for formal and informal staff development.
11
Formal Staff Development
Questions about formal staff development were related to courses undertaken at both the
participant’s own institution and other institutions in preparation for eTeaching. The options
provided were:
• General computing instruction e.g. Microsoft Office, email, Internet.
• Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – technical (e.g. how to set up
resources on Blackboard).
• Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – pedagogical (e.g. how to
facilitate teaching and learning).
• Specialist software instruction e.g. Blackboard, Flash, Dreamweaver.
Ways in which formal staff development courses and workshops were delivered was also
investigated i.e. online, face-to-face, one-on-one support, mentoring, mixed mode. In all
sections of the questionnaire, participants were given the opportunity to provide descriptive
comments about their circumstances and opinions.
Informal Staff Development
A range of options were provided for participants to select from such as, conferences,
working with early adopters/peers, blogs, observation of others’ online courses etc. (see full
list in the questionnaire, Appendix B).
Learning Strategies and Application of Staff Development
Participants were asked to consider a scenario and indicate which learning strategies they
had used e.g. utilise a trial and error approach, seek the help of a mentor, maintain a
reflective journal etc. (see full list of options, Appendix B). The following scenario was
provided:
Your manager has said that you must learn how to use a new eLearning method and
develop expertise in the method to aid your students’ learning. What learning strategies
would you use to familiarise yourself with the method and to make sure you are a
confident and competent practitioner?
For the last part of the questionnaire, participants were asked to describe one or two
examples of how formal and/or informal staff development had shaped their eTeaching.
12
Analysis of Questionnaire
Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, mean, median and mode were used and scores of
efficacy in using eLearning methods and tools were estimated for each participant.
Correlation statistics were used to determine if there were links between eLearning self-
efficacy and staff experiences of eLearning, and between self-efficacy in eLearning and
formal staff development.
Content analysis of comments was used to determine any themes and trends. Judgement was
also used to establish whether there was a pattern. Profiles of individuals willing to be
interviewed were developed using data from the online questionnaire. The profiles enabled
both generic and questions specific to individuals to be developed for the interviews.
Interviews
Interviews with five participants from each institution were planned. Prior to interviews
being conducted, descriptive profiles were compiled from the questionnaire data. There were
several reasons for this and they were to:
1. Select appropriate participants for interview.
2. Ensure a diverse range of participants with varying experiences were sampled in a
more in-depth way i.e. by interview.
3. Provide background information for the interviewers.
4. Modify interview questions to fit each interviewee’s individual situation.
5. Provide a basis for developing case studies about individual participants.
Content analysis of transcribed interviews was used to determine trends and themes. Pre-
determined categories for content analysis were as follows:
• eLearning tools and methods.
• User confidence.
• User preparedness.
• Institutional support.
• Challenge and how handled.
• Challenge and possible help.
• Formal staff development.
• Informal staff development.
• How staff development was applied to eTeaching.
• Learning strategies.
• Issues/problems.
• Suggestions.
It was also expected that other themes would emerge from the content analysis.
Case Studies
Case studies were compiled from six individual profiles which represented a range of
participant experiences with eLearning, and secondly from the themes which emerged from
content analysis of the interviews and from analysis of the online questionnaire data. The
former case studies are presented as Case Studies of Individuals and the latter as Case
studies of eLearning Efficacy and Staff Development.
13
Chapter Three: Results
Results are organised in three sections: Focus Group findings, online questionnaire
results – demographics, efficacy and staff development – and interviews. A summary
for each section is also included.
3.1 Focus Group Findings
An overview of the findings from the focus groups held at the start of the research
project is presented in this section of the results. Three questions were put to each focus
group.
1. What type of formal staff development support is offered at your institution to
prepare you for eLearning?
2. What type of informal staff development support is offered at your institution to
prepare you for eLearning?
3. What types of strategies for eLearning have you used, or are encouraged to use
through formal or informal learning?
Responses for all six of participating institutions have been collated and are presented
together rather than being linked to any individual institution. The focus group
questions informed the staff development section of the online questionnaire by
providing terminology common to all six institutions to shape the questions.
Invitations to the focus group sessions were extended to staff developers, training
coordinators, eLearning support staff, instructional designers, academic staff who had
attended formal staff development sessions for eLearning and staff who taught online
but had not necessarily attended formal staff development.
3.1.1 Formal Staff Development
A range of formal options were provided in institutions, and are shown in
Table 1 below:
• Workshops – technical and pedagogical.
• Sessions associated with the introduction of a Learning Management
System (LMS).
• eLearning qualifications.
• Overseas and local experts – seminar and workshop sessions.
• Mini conferences in-house.
• Sharing of best practice seminars.
• Computing courses.
• Mentoring.
• Just-in-time help and resources.
• Departmental sessions.
• Drop in sessions - offered in a variety of flexible delivery modes.
• Encouragement to attend conferences e.g e-Fest and ASCILITE.
Table 1: Formal staff development options
Participants mentioned that the timing of the support was important, for example, just
before a semester started was very useful but ‘just in time’ was best.
14
Two institutions collaboratively organised a two day series of workshops with another
local provider, and invited well-known experts in eLearning to conduct the workshops.
Staff were invited free of charge and given a mix of best practice “show and tell”
examples, theory about eLearning and hands on activities. The series provided learning
for both staff new to eLearning and those with some experience.
Some places had qualifications for online teaching and learning specific to their own
institution and others were developed collaboratively. Some included elements of
eLearning exposure and others were primarily about eLearning. Some qualifications
were compulsory for staff, and provided free, others were optional and had a cost
involved. Some courses about eLearning were part of other qualifications, e.g.
Introduction to On-Line Learning (ITOL) a small optional course in the Certificate in
Adult Learning, and a 300 level course called Applied eLearning and Adult Education
in the Bachelor of Applied Social Science. Others were complete qualifications e.g.
Online Learning and Teaching Certificate programme, Certificate in Educational
Technology and Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning. In some institutions, staff
were given incentives to undertake study for qualifications. Incentives included
professional development time, free fees and promotion.
One institution offered qualifications in eLearning at three levels of accreditation (level
5, 6 and 7), so there was a lot of choice for staff. In some cases, people tended to take
specific one-off accredited eLearning courses for professional development rather than
undertake full qualifications. Four of the institutions participating in this research
project had collaboratively developed a qualification called the Graduate Certificate in
Applied eLearning. Participants could complete the full qualification, and several were
intending to do this, or take two of the courses as stand-alone courses.
Some staff also undertook credited qualifications and courses offshore as distance
students, and found the experience of being a student helped their teaching as well as
providing skills and theoretical knowledge for eTeaching.
Workshops and computing classes for educating staff about a new LMS tended to be
approached from a technical focus i.e. how to use the functions of the LMS, with some
considerations about design included. Pedagogy tended to be covered in credited
courses attached to qualifications, as opposed to training workshops.
There were issues regarding the type of support offered. Staff support to undertake the
qualifications was variable between institutions, with some having fees paid
unconditionally but no time allocation to participate, others had fees paid on passing the
full qualification and others were required to negotiate the use of their professional
development allowance.
There were other examples around support. In one institution, for example, IT Services
provided software training in Dreamweaver, but any links or usage for eLearning had to
be made by the participants themselves as that aspect was not covered at all. Also,
courses were often fully booked so staff could not get access to training when needed.
There was mention of situations where expertise in relation to eLearning was becoming
the realm of a select few. In one instance, academic staff were discouraged from
researching into the capabilities of new or different technologies themselves, because
support people saw it as their role to do that and advise academic staff members about
the suitability of the technology. This was also the case where students were employed
15
to do web production work but at the end of the contract, staff were left “high and dry”
and didn’t know how to maintain the resources. At the same institution, a comment was
made that there was also little idea of the importance of providing staff development to
assist staff to try out different technologies and develop their capability; it was believed
that if support staff were ‘doing the technical work’, then academic staff didn’t need to
“tinker”.
When building courses and using technologies people tended to go to institutional
training courses as offered e.g. Blackboard, and seek the help of others with experience
who mentored them. Courses varied from LMS related instruction to areas such as web
page design and development. The driving force for attending staff development
sessions came from two quarters: staff members’ desire to learn more about eLearning,
and where staff were given the responsibility of leading eLearning in their section or
department
In some institutions, courses weren’t continued because staff seemed to prefer one-on-
one, just-in-time or departmental sessions, hence there was quite a bit of individual
assistance given as support for using Blackboard, and sessions where an overview of
how Blackboard could be used was shown to staff. For some this occurred during
orientation to the institution. Some staff felt that although courses at other institutions
were paid for there was a lack of direction in their own institution apart from being
given time to find out how to do eLearning. Conversely in other institutions there was
no reduction in workload or additional remuneration for staff engaging in formal
eLearning development.
Some early adopters had undertaken training in more than one eLearning system e.g.
Web Crossing, WebCT, Blackboard and other software, and in a variety of ways such as
formal workshops at other institutions, online and informally. Their learning had then
been extended to setting up online courses and mentoring others. Some participants had
been influenced by observing peers teaching online and were interested in working with
a mentor in the same area as themselves. A formal arrangement that was described was
called COLIG (College OnLine Interest Group), and as a direct result of contacts made
in this group, some buddying-up had occurred on an informal basis.
3.1.2 Informal Staff Development
Many participants regarded the informal strategies as a valuable source of staff
development. It was noted that both the people assisting with staff training and the
recipients of the training and support gained new knowledge through informal staff
development methods. People at one institution commented that the skills learned in
workshops were often forgotten, and it was good to have peers to help them afterwards.
Some were put off by people who knew everything as they felt “dumb” if they didn’t
know what they were doing. A peer who could assist with “just-in-time” help, and who
didn’t mind being asked over and over was mentioned as a valuable learning resource.
At some institutions, a project team approach was taken and staff worked as subject
matter experts alongside members of a support team when setting up their online
courses. At others, staff development support for building an online course included
instructional design, mentoring and training either for individuals or for small groups.
In one case, an in-house publication about eLearning enabled guest writers to share their
experience and best practice with readers. There were also examples of people who had
taken the “lone ranger” approach i.e. “needing to be everything - trying to be
16
everything”. In other words, trying to become technical experts when they would have
been better as subject experts.
Informal support from eLearning experts was variable. Help was available from ‘early
adopters’ and was usually an excellent source in one institution but only occurred if it
was asked for. It was also reported that early adopters often did not actively seek to
provide support to other staff. Additionally, some support was available from locally
based IT staff, again, if requested rather than offered. In another institution, mentoring
was provided by early adopters in departments and programmes.
Some staff attended Blackboard conferences and other conferences related to eLearning
e.g. DEANZ6
, e-Fest, ASCILITE7
which were helpful. These provided an introduction
to eLearning from which they could explore different options. Often it was mainly
support staff who attended conferences specific to eLearning, whereas academic staff
tended to go to conferences related to their own specific subject area. Some people felt
that reports and recommendations made following conferences tended to get lost in
institutional bureaucracy, meaning opportunities for expanding eLearning in such
institutions were lost.
A range of informal techniques were used for staff development in eLearning, and these
are shown in Table 2 below:
6
Distance Education Association of NZ
7
Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
17
Peer Support Organised and Expert
Support
Individual Pursuits
• Newsletters.
• Departmental cross
pollination of ideas.
• Buddies.
• Casual assistance.
• Team teaching.
• Swapping of teaching
resources.
• Staff online discussion
forum.
• List serves.
• Newsgroups.
• Blogging.
• Working with peers to set
up courses.
• Involvement in projects.
• Access to others’ online
courses.
• Feedback from students.
• Peer support.
• Projects.
• Teaching others.
• Family and friends
• Phone and face-to-face
support by experts in a
central team.
• IT assistance from
librarians.
• Visits to other
institutions.
• General computing
courses.
• Show and tell
sessions.
• Conferences – face-to-
face and online.
• Consultation with
support
team/instructional
designer/staff
developer/multimedia
developer.
• Running a Blackboard
site Helpdesk.
• On-line journals.
• Reading.
• Web searches.
• Looking for other
examples.
• Exploring and
problem-solving for
both their own use
and to help other
staff.
• ‘How to do it’
resources.
• Internet-based
research.
• Trial and error.
• Production of
learning objects.
• Building web
pages.
• Textbook
cartridges.
• Free online
websites for online
learning.
• eLearning methods
used in formal
study associated
with professional
disciplines.
• Awards and
scholarships e.g.
flexible learning
leadership.
• Notes from
courses.
• Manuals.
• Magazines.
Table 2: Informal options for staff development in eLearning
3.1.3 Strategies for eLearning
There was some confusion about what was meant by learning strategies. Items in the
following list were mentioned in response to the question about strategies, and as can be
seen these responses were similar to several of the items mentioned under informal staff
development.
• A personal development site in which to ‘play’ and test.
• Problem-based learning.
• Web searches on topics of interest.
• Development of personal resource of information on eLearning.
• Observation of others’ Blackboard sites helped with ideas.
• Reading institutional newsletter about eLearning to pick up ideas.
• User group for Blackboard helps with swapping ideas and resources.
• Online discussion forum helps with ideas.
• Computing courses and formal eLearning qualifications .
• Asking librarians.
• Visits to other places.
• Practising skills.
• Attending Blackboard days.
• Journaling.
• List serve membership.
• Attending sessions by visiting educators for inspiration.
• Support and training 1:1 from SD team.
• Being part of a group project.
• Help files.
• Reading articles.
The list of strategies mentioned by participants was varied and indicated a wide range of
interest and enthusiasm for eLearning. It was evident from the range of strategies and
informal staff development methods in use, that the participants taking part in the focus
groups were engaging with eLearning, and were willing to explore and keep up to date.
3.1.4 Other Methods used for Support
Support was provided in creative ways such as an automatic email four weeks after a
consultation with the support person, which asked how things were progressing. This
technique triggered staff into thinking about the issues again, and to ask more questions
of the support person. Additionally, support staff gave themselves a ‘super-designer’
access to all the online courses in their area, which enabled them to check on progress
and provide support and ongoing pedagogical advice.
3.1.5 Other Points Raised
• Whether it was formal or informal, the need for pedagogical or technical support
occurred across different time frames. Pedagogical support was needed prior to
development work, but technical support was most useful when provided on a
‘just in time’ basis.
• It was found that when online, formal, staff development sessions finished,
interaction between participants ended as well. It was felt that some semi-formal
arrangement was needed to help the interactions continue such as an online
forum or newsgroup.
19
• Central support was mixed with local support at some of the larger institutions.
In most cases, local mentoring support was informal and ad hoc.
• It was felt in some institutions that formal eLearning staff development had
focussed on how to use a particular technology e.g. Blackboard rather than
providing an overview of the potential of eLearning, the possible contribution to
teaching and learning and the transformative opportunities eLearning provided.
In one case, technical support was being dropped and replaced by pedagogical
support.
• Several participants commented that they would like to see an institutional
direction set for eLearning.
3.1.6 Summary
The focus groups provided a snapshot of opinions about formal and informal staff
development and learning strategies used by staff in their professional development for
eLearning. The aim was to gather a common terminology to inform the online
questionnaire and this was achieved. Additionally, some information about processes
and issues related to staff development for eLearning was gathered and this has
provided a valuable overview related to the institutions who are participating in this
research project.
20
3.2 Online Questionnaire
The results of the online questionnaire presented to academic staff at six institutions in
New Zealand attracted 82 responses overall. For the purposes of this project the
following definitions were used: eTeaching and eLearning relate to the use of
multimedia technologies (e.g. Internet-based, CDROM technologies, video, audio,
teleconference) resources for teaching and learning respectively.
The results are organised under the following headings:|
̇ Demographics – years teaching and eTeaching, qualifications
̇ Efficacy in eLearning – personal, tools, projects, practical
̇ Staff development
o Formal – own institution and other institutions
o Informal
̇ Learning strategies used to develop skills for eLearning
̇ Application of staff development to eTeaching
3.2.1 Demographics
In this section of the questionnaire, factors such as age, role, gender, years teaching and
years eTeaching were investigated, along with the percentage of courses taught using
eLearning tools in 2004 and the percentage anticipated in 2005. Participants were also
asked about any study they were currently undertaking for a qualification which
encompassed eLearning and any qualifications obtained in the area of eLearning.
The respondents’ ages ranged from 27 years to 67 years (mean=48, SD=8.6), and there
were 31 males compared to 49 females and two undisclosed. Participants were primarily
lecturers or tutors, and also included professors, course advisors, consultants,
programme managers, instructional designers and a Kaiwhakahaere Tikanga Ako. Years
teaching ranged from 2 to 45 (mean=16.8, SD=9.8; median=15), and years eTeaching
ranged from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 20 (mean=3.49, SD=4.1; median=2).
Comparison of
Teaching Median Minimum Maximum Mean SD
Years Teaching
15 2 45 16.8 9.8
Years eTeaching
2 0 20 3.49 4.1
% eTeaching in
2004 25 0 100 41.2 41
% eTeaching in
2005 45 0 100 46.2 41.5
Table 3: Comparison of teaching and eTeaching
• % eTeaching refers to the proportion of teaching undertaken in 2004 and 2005 which involved eLearning tools
and methods.
21
Twenty respondents (24.4%) were studying for qualifications which encompassed
eLearning, the programmes included were: Online Teaching & Learning Certificate,
Post graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, Certificate in Educational Technology,
Certificate in Frontline Management, Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, Doctor
Health Science, Graduate Diploma in eLearning, Master of Nursing.
Nineteen respondents (23.2%) had already obtained qualifications in eLearning
including: Graduate Diploma in Information Technology in Education, Master in
Education - Computers in Education, Certificate in Educational Technology, MA in
Open and Distance Education, Certificate in Online Education and Training, Certificate
in eLearning, Certificate in Online Learning.
As can be seen in Table 4 below, there was no relationship between overall efficacy and
years eTeaching (r = 0.14, p = 0.21). There was, however, a moderate association (r =
0.358, p = 0.001) between percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools
(methods) in 2004, and the efficacy score for overall confidence using eLearning tools.
Additionally, as would be expected, there was a correlation (r = 0.542, p = 0) between
years eTeaching and percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools (methods) in
2005. No relationship, however, between percentage of courses taught using eLearning
tools (methods) in 2005 and overall confidence (r = 0.092, p = 0.41).
Comparison of
eTeaching and
Efficacy
Overall
efficacy
% Teaching
in 2004
% Teaching
in 2005
% Teaching in
2004 0.358*
% Teaching in
2005 0.092 0.163
Years eTeaching
0.14 0.27 0.542*
Table 4: Relationships between eTeaching and efficacy (n = 82)
• Probability (p) significant at less than 0.006 for all measurements of r.
• % eTeaching refers to the proportion of teaching undertaken in 2004 and 2005 which involved eLearning
tools and methods.
3.2.2 Efficacy in eLearning
A series of questions was posed about five different aspects of efficacy i.e. confidence
for eLearning. The five aspects are listed below:
1. Personal efficacy using computer technology/eLearning tools and methods for
teaching.
2. Confidence using eLearning tools.
3. Confidence when undertaking a project to set up an online course.
4. Personal characteristics when learning new software or using eLearning tools
and facilities.
22
5. Overall confidence in using eLearning tools and methods in teaching.
Responses to questions in each of the five sections were scored to determine levels of
efficacy in each different type of situation. Where questions were posed as negative
confidence, scores were reversed to obtain the actual efficacy, for example, question 1-
05, I feel anxious about using eLearning tools and question 1-06 the thought of using
eLearning methods for teaching is uncomfortable (see Table D-1, Appendix D).
An analysis of questionnaire data was conducted using Pearson’s tests of correlation8
to
determine if there were relationships between overall efficacy and variables such as
years eTeaching, percentage courses taught in 2004 and 2005, and the frequency of
formal staff development. Additionally, six characteristics of efficacy were selected as
most important for measuring the rest against. These are listed below:
• Overall efficacy in using eLearning tools and methods in teaching.
• Confidence in ability to teach well in a course that requires the use of computer
technology.
• Not worried about making mistakes using computer technologies.
• Learning how to be an eTeacher is easy.
• No one around to tell you what to do as you go.
• Try and persist on own until it works correctly.
All efficacy characteristics in the questionnaire, apart from those relating to the section
on using eLearning tools, were tested against the six characteristics using Pearson’s
tests of correlation. The results are depicted in Table 5 further on in the report.
A graph depicting overall confidence with eLearning is depicted in Figure 2. Thirty-
nine participants (48%) indicated their overall confidence (efficacy) for using eLearning
tools and methods was high and eighteen (22%) believed they had very high
confidence. Ten people (13%) rated their level of overall confidence as low or very low.
The mean efficacy score was 3.8 confirming that overall most participants had above
average confidence with eLearning.
There does not appear to be any relationship between years eTeaching and overall
efficacy for using eLearning tools and methods. There was a moderate relationship,
however, between the percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools in 2004 and
overall efficacy (r = 0.416, p = 0).
8
Short for Karl Pearson’s product-moment correlation
23
Figure 2: Overall Efficacy using eLearning Tools and Methods in Teaching (n=82)
When each aspect or category of questions was examined, efficacy scores were
generally high or very high. For example, 88% indicated high or very high personal
efficacy for eLearning, and 84% had the necessary characteristics for eLearning (see
Figure 3). For each question relating to each of the five aspects of efficacy, mean
efficacy scores were calculated as well as descriptive statistics such as median and
mode (Table D-1, Appendix D). Mean efficacy scores which stand out for each of the
five aspects of efficacy are mentioned in each of the sections below.
Figure 3: Frequency of high and very high efficacy for five aspects of eLearning (n=82)
4
9
18
48
22
v low low average high v high
Efficacy Score
% Frequency
88
63
68
84
66
Personal efficacy and
feelings
eLearning Tools Setting up an online course Characteristics for
eLearning
Overall confidence with
eLearning
Aspects of eLearning
% Frequency
24
Situations where there was a significant relationship between efficacy scores for questions and the
six selected characteristics are presented in Table 5
Table 1below.
Six Characteristics
Overall
efficacy
Confident
in
ability
to
teach
well
Not
worried
about
making
mistakes
Learning
to
be
an
eTeacher
is
easy
No-one
around
to
tell
what
to
do
as
go
Try
and
persist
on
own
until
it
works
correctly
Questions Pearson’s Correlation ®
1.1. I am confident about my
ability to teach well in a
course that requires me to
use computer technology.
0.879
1.2 I feel at ease learning about
computer technology. 0.446
1.5 I feel anxious about using
eLearning tools* 0.356*
1.9 I enjoy using eLearning
tools. 0.316
3.2 If you had only an instruction
manual for reference
0.679
3.3 If you could call someone for
help if you got stuck
0.497
4.1 Expect that I will experience
many problems*
0.356 0.321*
4.6 Put a lot of effort into getting
it right
0.376
Probability (p) significant at less than 0.006 for all measurements of r. * Efficacy score reversed
Table 5: Significant relationships between efficacy scores of six characteristics and question
Most significantly, there are several correlation results displayed in Table 5 which need
noting.
1. If participants were confident about their ability to teach well in a course that
required them to use computer technology, they would also feel they were
confident overall in using elearning tools and methods in their teaching (r =
0.879, p = 0).
2. Participants who were confident if they had only an instruction manual for
reference were also confident if no-one was around to tell them what to do as
they went (r = 0.679, p = 0).
3. If participants feel at ease learning about computer technology they will not be
worried about making mistakes when using it for teaching (r = 0.446, p = 0).
4. Those who expect they will experience many problems will not be confident in
their ability to teach well using eLearning tools and facilities (r = 0.356, p =
0.002).
5. Anxiety about using eLearning tools is associated with being worried about
making mistakes when using them (r = 0.356, p = 0.002).
25
6. Participants who enjoy using eLearning tools find learning to be an eTeacher is
easy (r = 0.316, p = 0.005).
3.2.2.1 Personal Efficacy Using Computer Technologies
In this section of the questionnaire, participants were asked to answer a series of nine
questions about their personal confidence and feelings about using computer
technologies (Table D-1, Appendix D). For example, questions about confidence in
their ability to teach well using computer technologies, anxiety about using eLearning
tools and concern about the impact on teaching.
Most notably, academic staff felt at ease learning about computer technologies (83%),
and confident about their ability to teach well using them (77%). For 80%, the thought
of using eLearning methods was uncomfortable and 69% felt anxious about using
eLearning tools. Frequencies for the responses to other aspects of personal efficacy and
feelings can be seen in Table D-1 (Appendix D). The mean efficacy score for learning
how to be an eTeacher is easy was the lowest for all the questions at 2.8, which means
that most participants lacked confidence in this area. The full range of efficacy scores is
illustrated in Figure 4 below.
Figure 4: Mean Efficacy scores for Personal Efficacy (n=82)
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5
confidence to teach well
at ease learning
concerned about impact
not worried about mistakes
anxious using
thought of using is
uncomfortable
tools enhance
learning is easy
enjoy using
Mean Score of Efficacy
26
3.2.2.2 Confidence using eLearning Tools
A range of eLearning tools was listed for participants to choose from, and Table D-1
(Appendix D) indicates the responses regarding how confident they felt using them.
Most participants had a high level of confidence using email (82%), PowerPoint (77%)
and text-based materials (75%), and 62% were confident using learning management
systems and discussion boards, and 50% were confident with chat. The tools where
participants were least confident were web pages (38%) and video streaming (35%).
There were a small number of other tools used such as: PDF files, interactive tutorials,
email lists, providing material via CD, DVD and Video, library journals and
information databases.
Mean efficacy scores for using fourteen specific kinds of eLearning tools ranged from
1.6 for audio, 2.6 for quizzes to 4.0 for email (see Figure 5).When efficacy levels were
scored, frequencies were adjusted to account for the tools not used.
Figure 5: Average Efficacy Score for Using eLearning Tools (n=82)
3.2.2.3 Confidence for Setting up a Course for Online Delivery
In this section participants were asked to “imagine you are given a project to set up your
course for online delivery” and to indicate how confident they felt in a series of
situations (see questionnaire, Appendix B). The types of assistance which provided the
highest levels of confidence, included the following:
• Having a lot of time (85%).
• Being able to call someone for help (82%).
• Help getting started (79%).
• Having step by step instructions to complete the project (70%).
When there was no one around to tell them what to do as they went and they had only
an instruction manual, confidence levels were much lower at (36%) and (43%)
respectively. The lowest mean efficacy score was 2.9 and related to no help as you go
0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0
LMS
text-based
Discussion Board
PowerPoint
Chat
email
Quizzes
Web pages
e-journals
Teleconference
Simulations
Audio
Video streaming
Video conferencing
Mean Efficacy Score
27
and the highest was 4.3 for having a lot of time to complete the project. The complete
range of efficacy scores is depicted in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Average Efficacy Score for Setting up an Online Course (n=82)
3.2.2.4 Characteristics of Efficacy
In this section of the questionnaire, participants were asked about their characteristics
associated with either learning new software or using eLearning tools and facilities.
Table D-1 (Appendix D) displays the percentage frequency of responses to each
question.
The participants (n = 82) had two characteristics which stood out when learning new
software or using eLearning tools and facilities. They did spend extra time trying to
understand what to do (83%), put a lot of effort into getting it right (83%) and did try
and persist on their own if it doesn’t work (60%). On the other hand, a small number
(9%) give up quickly if it doesn’t work, 17% doubt their ability to solve the problems
that may arise, and 16% get someone else to do it for them or fix it.
To determine efficacy, questionnaire responses which implied low efficacy e.g. question
one – expect that I will experience many problems - were reversed when scoring the
efficacy levels for each participant. Additionally, responses to the last question, get
frustrated and annoyed at lack of progress, were removed prior to scoring efficacy
levels because it is not specifically related to confidence. The lowest mean efficacy
score in this section was 2.5 for need to ask others for help indicating a characteristic
related to low efficacy. On the other hand, a mean efficacy of 4.1 for put a lot of effort
into getting it right was a characteristic indicating high efficacy. (See Figure 7)
0 1 2 3 4 5
no help as go
only instruction manual
call someone for help
help getting started
lot of time
step by step instructions
Mean Efficacy Score
28
Figure 7: Average Efficacy Score for Personal Characteristics (n=82)
3.2.2.5 Overview of Comments from Self-efficacy Section
Participants mentioned a small number of challenges associated with eLearning, for
example, some saw it as “an exciting challenge” and others regarded it as stressful.
Seventeen participants alluded to time as an issue with comments such as: “tricky
getting back on the horse - especially when there isn’t a heap of time available to fully
understand” and “I’d like to develop this area faster, but am limited by time and other
duties.” Also the following comments were very revealing: “time makes the difference.
Without time it just can’t be done well (or at all). I have the skills - but without time I
am as useless as a complete novice”, and “yes the time factor is a big one”.
The potential for eLearning was regarded as both a positive change and a dubious one.
Some people could see the benefits such as better communication and class
participation, but others were sceptical about the use of technology for learning. When
people had experienced eLearning tools, they felt it “demystified” the process
somewhat. Most were realistic, however, that the degree of difficulty depended on the
way in which technology was put to use. For example, “creating good e-learning
resources is more difficult unless your conception of teaching is simply knowledge
transfer (i.e. a focus on low level cognitive skills).” Also, the level of support provided
impacted on people’s perceptions and experiences of eLearning.
For some, their concern lay with the reliability of technology rather than their lack of
skill, whereas, for a small minority who had never used or learned about eLearning tools
and methods, the prospect of what lay ahead was unknown. Some people liked to work
with an expert who could help them turn ideas into practice, others liked to experiment.
The following quote was amusing, and highlighted the wide range of opinion: “Step by
step instructions make me nervous....who knows what fun you could be having
otherwise”.
Average Efficacy Score for Personal Characteristics (n=82)
0 1 2 3 4 5
expect problems
doubt ability to solve problems
ask others for help
persist on own
give up quickly
lot of effort
ask immediately for help
someone else to fix
spend extra time to understand
Mean Efficacy Score
29
Support was a major theme and mentioned by twenty participants. For example, some
had access to very good and adequate support for technology and course development,
others did not; some wanted support to enable them to teach autonomously, e.g. “the
kind of help I want is someone who can work alongside me to enable me to put my
pedagogy into place online”. Others wanted someone to put their course materials
online for them, and others wanted time to experiment and explore themselves. Also
there were people who indicated they would try more adventurous tools and methods if
they had the time and support. A few participants worried about being able to provide
adequate learning and technical support for students. In general, it was evident that the
infrastructure in the different institutions varied regarding the type of technical and staff
development support offered.
There were some interesting perceptions about eLearning, for example: “I am still a
fence sitter about the whole e-learning thing and cautiously optimistic about my ability
to manage the new environment”, and “using eTools is easy if you have a reason to use
them, anyone can learn if given the motivation to do so”. Also, “it is better to receive a
little guidance and then explore for yourself and learn”, and “frustration & inter-
collegial support are built into all learning”.
Generally, access to the relevant hardware and software and technological tools for
teaching and learning and adequate support were most important, because without them
they couldn’t expand their repertoire and develop their potential, or the potential of what
was offered to students. In the following section, the findings about staff development
and learning strategies are reported.
3.2.3 Staff Development Section of Questionnaire
The results for this section include data relating to both formal and informal methods of
staff development as well as learning strategies and applications of staff development to
eTeaching. Participants were asked about the types of staff development they had
undertaken in preparation for eLearning over the last 10 years. Definitions were
provided for formal and informal staff development.
Definition of formal staff development: Courses/workshops as well as staff
development that might occur through mentoring or facilitating. The type of staff
development included here is formally recognised, part of your workload, remunerated
possibly and may or may not be driven by Staff Developers.
Definition of informal staff development: Informal learning is any learning that takes
place outside of structured or contracted learning situations. It is not formally
recognised, may not be a recognised part of workload, is not remunerated, and may or
may not be driven by Head of School/Department, Dean or Staff Developers.
Results are presented as frequencies of the different types of staff development
undertaken using graphs of percentage frequency. Relationships between different pairs
of data were tested using Pearson’s correlation statistics.
3.2.3.1 Formal Staff Development
Participant responses for this section related to the number of sessions they had
undertaken in four different categories of formal staff development at both their own
and other institutions:
1. General computing instruction e.g. Microsoft Office, email, Internet
30
2. Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – technical (e.g. how to set up
resources on Blackboard)
3. Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – pedagogical (e.g. how to
facilitate teaching and learning)
4. Specialist software instruction e.g. Blackboard, Flash, Dreamweaver
Participants most frequently attended courses at their own institution and they covered
online teaching and learning instruction – technical, followed by general computing
instruction, then online teaching and learning instruction – pedagogical and lastly
specialist software instruction.
Participants were given a choice of delivery modes to choose from: Online, face-to-face,
one-on-one, mixed mode and mentoring. An example of the frequency of responses for
a particular type of staff development in several modes is illustrated in Figure 8 below.
Further data and all graphs can be found in Appendix D. As illustrated in Figure 8, for
pedagogical online teaching and learning instruction, face-to-face workshops were most
frequently attended by followed by online.
Figure 8: Frequency of Pedagogical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n=82)
For all types of formal staff development the most common mode was face-to-face
followed by online and one-on-one modes, and one or two sessions of formal staff
development were most common overall (see graphs in Appendix D).
3.2.3.2.1 Own Institution and Other Institution
Regardless of where staff development was undertaken, the highest number of
participants had engaged in one to five sessions, and the number of staff development
sessions at other institutions was 42% less frequent, than at the home institution.
It is evident in Figure 9 that 30% of participants undertook one to five sessions of
formal staff development at their own institution compared to 24% taking them at
another institution. 15% undertook no formal staff development at their own institution
and 53% did not pursue staff development at another institution. 10% and 12%
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Number of sessions
% Frequency
Online
F2f
1on1
mixed mode
mentoring
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undertook six-to-ten and eleven-to-fifteen sessions at their own institution and 12% and
3% took sessions in that range at other institutions.
Figure 9: Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own and Other Institutions (n=82)
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
0
1 to 5
6 to 10
11 to 15
16 to 20
21 to 25
26 to 30
31 to 35
36 to 40
41 to 45
46 to 50
51 to 55
56 to 60
61 to 65
Number
of
Sessions
% Frequency
% Freq Formal own
% Freq Formal other
An examination of the mean, standard deviation for the number of formal and informal
staff development sessions gives a clearer representation of the similarities (Table 6).
Formal SD Informal SD
Number of Sessions
Own Institution Other Institution Total SD Total SD
mean 7.3 8.7 11.2 7.7
SD 12.5 5.0 13.7 3.6
No correlation between formal and informal SD r = 0.14, p = 0.2
No correlation between formal SD and overall efficacy scores
r = 0.05, p = 0.689
No correlation between formal SD and overall efficacy scores r = 0.04, p = 0.712
Table 6: Mean and standard deviation and correlation between the number of formal and informal
staff development sessions.
As can be seen in Table 6, there was no relationship between numbers of types of
formal and informal staff development undertaken. There was also no relationship
between the number of sessions undertaken in formal staff development or informal
staff development and efficacy scores for overall confidence with eLearning tools and
methods.
3.2.3.1.2 Comments about Formal Staff Development
Some participants found it difficult to estimate all the staff development sessions they
had undertaken formally for staff development either because they had studied a full
qualification or individual papers as part of a qualification. Others could not see where
projects they had undertaken would fit with the questions asked, although they believed
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they came under the definition of formal staff development. Several participants had
undertaken formal study in eLearning, distance or open learning as part of a Masters
degree or other postgraduate programme. One contributor suggested that examples of
best practice from other institutions and a training needs analysis was useful before
embarking on any interventions for formal staff development.
3.2.3.2 Informal Staff Development
Participants were given a list of options to choose from for informal staff development
related to eLearning and also given the opportunity to add their own items. The full list
of responses can be seen in Figure 10 and Table D-4, Appendix D. The top four choices
were: General internet use (75%), reading/websites/ personal resources (73%),
discussion with peers (71%) and working with early adopters/peers (63%).
The four least favoured choices in order were: Blogs (weblogs) (10%), special interest
groups (27%), drop in sessions (34%) and friends/whanau (35%).
Choices favoured by the majority, i.e. above the median of 48%, but not in the top four,
were: Exploration of software (59%), involvement in projects (54%), observation of
others’ online courses (51%) and workshops/seminars (49%). Conferences (47%), email
lists (46%) and “how to do it” resources (43%) were just below the median in
popularity. Newsletters (30%) were not particularly engaged with staff development.
Whether this was because newsletters were not regarded as useful by participants, or
because they weren’t available is not clear.
Figure 10: Frequency of Informal Staff Development (n = 82)
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27
47
49
63
43
73
35
75
59
30
71
46
10
54
51
Drop in sessions
Special interest groups
Conferences
Workshops/seminars
Working with early adopters/peers
how to do it resources
Reading/websites/personal resources
Friends/whanau
General internet use
Exploration of software
Newsletters
Discussion with peers
Email lists
Blogs (weblogs)
Involvement in projects
Observation of others’ online courses
Types
of
Staff
Development
% Frequency
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3.2.3.2.1 Overview of Comments about Informal Staff Development
Several participants have found that informal staff development opportunities were
often the only option available to them either because formal training was not in place
or due to a lack of support from managers or a workload which prevented time for up-
skilling. Some found the observation of others’ online courses to be very useful,
particularly when examples of exemplary work were made available, but some hadn’t
had the opportunity or were at the same stage or slightly ahead of their peers. Many
were self-taught when using new software e.g Macromedia Flash, 3D and Director,
though there was mention of demonstrations by companies as useful. Some participants
found email instructions, “just-in-time” help, trial and error, peer assistance and a
mentor useful.
3.2.3.3 Learning Strategies used to Develop Skills for eLearning
Participants were asked to choose from a list of learning strategies (Table D-5,
Appendix D) to answer the following scenario:
Your manager has said that you must learn how to use a new eLearning method and
develop expertise in the method to aid your students’ learning. What learning strategies
would you use to familiarise yourself with the method and to make sure you are a
confident and competent practitioner?
As can be seen in Figure 11, the most commonly chosen strategies academic staff used
to learn how to use a new eLearning method were:
1. Communicate with an existing practitioner (78%),
2. utilise a trial and error approach (72%) and
3. access web-based resources (71%).
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Other strategies above the median frequency of 48 were: Apply the method in a real
situation and engage in staff development activities (66%). Strategies such as: Observe
someone else (59%) and undertake a tutorial (59%) were both on the median of choice
and to seek the help of a mentor (50%) was less favoured. The least frequently used
strategies were: Engage in a web-log (blogging) (5%), compile a portfolio (9%) and
maintain a reflective journal (13%).
Figure 11: Learning Strategies used by Academic Staff to Develop Skills for e-Learning (n=82)
43
72
9
71
13
57
5
78
59
50
62
66
59
Apply knowledge in a problem-based or scenario-based context
Utilise a trial and error approach
Compile a portfolio
Access web-based resources
Maintain a reflective journal
Access text-based resources
Engage in a web-log (blogging)
Communicate with an existing practitioner
Undertake a tutorial
Seek the help of a mentor
Apply the method in a real situation
Engage in staff development activities
Observe someone else
Type
of
Strategy
% Frequency
3.2.3.3.1 Overview of Comments about Learning Strategies
There were several comments made and the general theme was people liked to try a bit
of this and that, and learn skills as they were required, either by finding out information
themselves, being involved in projects or by going to courses. Most liked to have a go
and seek assistance as needed, which in some cases involved one-on-one or the help of a
mentor. Courses run by technical personnel with no understanding of the pressures
teachers worked under were not regarded as particularly useful for academic staff. Some
felt their managers would not require them to do anything in particular to up-skill.
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3.2.3.4 Application of Staff Development to eTeaching
In this section, participants were asked to describe one or two examples of how formal
and/or informal staff development had shaped their eTeaching.
3.2.3.4.1 Responses re Formal Staff Development:
Twenty-seven participants referred to formal workshops as helpful for eTeaching
because they provided confidence for them to get started, as well as showing them what
was possible and how to cater for different learning styles. Showcase presentations by
colleagues were regarded as very useful especially for staff who regarded themselves as
kinaesthetic learners. Formal staff development opportunities also helped participants
realise what the needs and expectations of learners might be in an eLearning
environment. Structured workshops also helped staff to clarify what they were doing
and gave them different strategies to improve their teaching online. The possibilities for
using the Internet to enhance courses were welcomed rather than staff feeling they had
to put everything totally online.
Structured courses were described as either one-off workshops or workshops organised
as part of an institutional drive for online teaching and learning as well as courses taken
as part of formal qualifications. In some cases, staff were given the directive by their
managers to put their courses online, which precipitated their pursuit of formal options
for staff development. In other cases staff did most of their learning while building their
courses on the proprietary Learning Management Systems e.g Blackboard or Web-CT
used by their institution. It appears that the timing of workshops was important, that is,
when staff needed to put courses online and could see the relevance of the skills offered
therein, they tended to make more effort and got more out of them.
There were a number of descriptions which stood out about how formal staff
development had shaped eTeaching. In one case, where a staff member needed to
update subject knowledge, informal staff development was preferred to develop
eTeaching skills. For another participant, “the biggest influence was as a student on
eLearning courses….. I got a real understanding of being a student and learnt the
importance of communication ...” Another example was “attending a workshop on
pedagogy (scenario-based learning) has enabled me to make contacts with others
interested in this area… workshops and these contacts have given me ideas.”
Several responses related to alternative means of obtaining formal staff development.
For example, attending workshops at conferences or “research, membership of related
professional bodies, hosting online discussions “. Another participant found that having
to teach a tutorial helped with skill enhancement and was a good challenge. Another
example was “being involved in the development of videos/CD ROMS for teaching
purposes” and one person found that having “time with an advisor was invaluable ….
combined with discussion with an expert colleague, and with gathering resources and
then problem-solving when needed”.
Responses regarding formal staff development were primarily in the affirmative, but
there were twelve negative examples. Either courses were not available at all, or were
held when the staff member was not involved in eLearning, and the learning was
forgotten by the time they came to need the skills. This meant there was a need to find
“informal means of supplementing the information”. In some cases, the courses were
not relevant or useful, or presented concepts the staff member was unable to understand
at the time. One response referred to inhibiting factors such as the need to study for a
36
professional qualification and pressure to undertake research. Additionally, comment
was made about the time factor associated with setting up eLearning environments
which were not just repositories of knowledge and required more development time e.g.
scenario-based learning. Some participants were not enamoured with the proprietary
learning management system they were required to use or there was a lack of support in
using it. There were also some cases of “experts” providing advice which was unhelpful
or not fully supported.
Overall, formal staff development was regarded as useful in shaping eTeaching for the
majority of participants. Twenty-nine participants, however, did not respond to the
question. Some of these people were interviewed and would have been asked to clarify
how formal staff development shaped their eTeaching and how they have applied
formal learning to their courses.
3.2.3.4.1 Responses re Informal Staff Development:
Participants made twenty-four references to the way informal support by colleagues had
contributed to their learning either through being shown what others were doing, or
through discussions with peers about practical ways to undertake eLearning
development and use relevant pedagogy for the online environment. For example,
• “Working in an office with someone who is keen and also competent with Blackboard,
and observing their uses of it has positively influenced my participation and use”
• “Seeing other people’s quizzes has affected the way I use quizzes in the course.”
• “Discussions about pedagogy has affected the structure and format of the course.”
Other responses related to a variety of ways in which informal staff development had
helped them with eTeaching. These included how involvement in small project teams
and resource development had helped some participants with eLearning, and one
participant found that continual problem-solving helped to consolidate skills previously
learned through formal staff development. One person thought more formal training was
a good idea rather than just relying on a trial and error approach. There were a number
of people who preferred just-in-time learning when they felt they were ready for it or
needed it, because then it was meaningful. There were a number of comments about
different informal ways of gaining skills for eLearning. Methods such as reading books,
research, lunch-time drop in sessions, specific problem-solving and sharing resources
with other lecturers. Some key comments about different ways of learning included the
following:
• “Having a sound knowledge of technology and pegagogy assisted as one could focus on
learning the eTeaching tools and eTeaching methodology.”
• “Many years of participation in e-lists, discussion forums and chat has shaped my
understanding of on-line communities.”
• “I have learned a lot from working informally with an on-line group at a UK university
as a ‘visitor’ to the site.”
• “Helped to develop relationships which may not have been forged so easily.”
A few people also made mention of experts as helpful for practical assistance, and two
people had positive experiences as students in online discussions which helped them as
37
lecturers. There were five statements referring specifically to the usefulness of informal
staff development i.e. the “best way to learn”. A couple of statements mentioned family
and friends as support agents and influences, and two people referred to time as a factor
inhibiting informal exploration. One participant mentioned the importance of having
someone specifically employed to assist with eLearning pedagogy as helpdesk staff
were not equipped to assist with teaching and learning problems. Additionally, student
feedback was regarded by two participants as a good way to find out where to make
changes to the way online courses were structured.
Seven responses referred to specific ways in which knowledge that was gained
informally had been applied to courses. Participants described the use of email
discussion groups for communicating with students, also the allocation of marks for
online discussions and the benefits of posting clear instructions on the LMS. One person
tried to incorporate new approaches into any courses being developed for the online
environment, and another had developed a website which had attracted overseas
interest. There was also the use of “animations and tutorials provided with text books”
and the use of art work in PowerPoint presentations mentioned. In some cases, lecturers
bought equipment they needed themselves to be innovative as it was not easily obtained
in their institutions.
Overall, informal staff development was also regarded as useful in shaping eTeaching,
however, twenty-four people did not respond to the question and only some of these
participants were interviewed to follow up their questionnaire data.
3.2.4 Summary
This first section of the results for the online questionnaire established some base line
information about demographics and important aspects of efficacy for eLearning and
eTeaching. The relationship between efficacy for eLearning and eTeaching and the type
of staff development undertaken was covered in the second section investigating types
of staff development.
Of the 82 participants surveyed 24% were studying for qualifications related to
eLearning, and 23% had already obtained qualifications in eLearning. The average
number of years participants had been eTeaching was 3.49, but overall they had
experience in eTeaching ranging from zero to twenty years. Several relationships
between self-efficacy variables were revealed from an analysis of questionnaire data
using Pearson’s tests of correlation. For example, there was a moderate relationship
between the percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools in 2004 and scores for
overall efficacy i.e. the higher the percentage of courses taught in 2004, the higher their
confidence for eTeaching.
Additionally, two significant findings were related to learning about computer
technology for teaching. The research discovered that if participants feel at ease
learning about computer technology they would not be worried about making mistakes
when using it for teaching, and if they enjoyed using eLearning tools they found
learning to be an eTeacher was easy.
Interestingly, however, there was no relationship between overall efficacy for using
eLearning tools and methods and years eTeaching which might be expected.
For the five aspects of efficacy selected (personal efficacy, confidence using eLearning
tools, confidence setting up an online course, personal characteristics and overall
38
confidence) total efficacy scores for each aspect were generally high or very high
(Figure 2). Hence the majority of participants sampled were generally confident using
eLearning tools and methods and eTeaching. This result may be because the type of
participants who chose to respond to the questionnaire generally had some experience or
interest in eLearning. For example, 77% were confident about their ability to teach well
using elearning tools and methods.
On the other hand, however, some specific characteristics emerged such as 80% finding
the thought of using eLearning methods uncomfortable and 69% feeling anxious about
using eLearning tools. For specific tools, email was used most confidently (82%)
followed by learning management systems (62%) and discussion boards (62%).
Characteristics of note were that the majority of participants did spend extra time trying
to understand what to do (83%), and put a lot of effort into getting it right (83%), and
these were characteristics associated with high efficacy for eLearning. On the other
hand, people who needed to ask others for help tended to have low efficacy for
eLearning.
In the staff development section of the questionnaire, a number of interesting findings
were made. Face-to-face workshops for eLearning training were the most common
delivery mode, followed by online and one-on-one modes. Also the highest percentage
of people had taken one or two sessions of formal staff development, and most people
undertook formal staff development at their own institutions. Where people had studied
for a qualification, numbers of staff development sessions became difficult to extricate.
The amount of formal staff development undertaken had no influence on informal staff
development or vice versa. Nor was there any relationship between the number of
sessions undertaken in formal staff development and overall confidence with eLearning
tools and methods.
As far as informal staff development went, the highest numbers of people chose items
such as general internet use, reading/websites/ personal resources, discussion with peers
and working with early adopters/peers as their most preferred methods for learning
informally. Methods which were often the only means available them for up-skilling
for eTeaching. The most commonly chosen strategies were to communicate with an
existing practitioner, utilise a trial and error approach and access web-based resources.
Metacognitive type strategies such as blogging, portfolio development and reflective
journaling were not popular. Overall people liked to experiment and use just-in-time
methods to learn as well as engaging in projects and courses.
For most participants. both formal and informal staff development was regarded as
useful in shaping eTeaching.
3.3 Interviews
Twenty-seven participants who had volunteered their contact details for interview were
selected to ensure those interviewed represented a range of experience with eLearning
and eTeaching. Each participant was interviewed using a standard list of questions as
well as questions specific to each participant’s situation regarding eLearning and their
questionnaire responses (see Appendix C). One participant only was recruited for
interview from one of the institutions.
The data from the interviews has been used along with the questionnaire data to
formulate both individual case studies (chapter four) and a case study depicting staff
development and self-efficacy across the six institutions (chapter five).
39
Chapter Four: Case Studies Of Individuals
The six individual case studies presented in this section were selected from the 27
participants who had volunteered for a follow-up individual interview. The six profiles
were selected to ensure a balance across areas such as number of years eTeaching, the
percentage of teaching delivered online, employing institution, and gender. Other
criteria used included ensuring that the six included participants with high and low self-
efficacy scores, along with high and low levels of confidence and who had engaged in
predominantly formal staff development, informal staff development or a mixture of
both. To create the profiles, the participants questionnaire results were combined with
their interview using the research questions as the framework to draw out the key
information. The research questions were:
1. How do staff development models prepare academic staff for eLearning?
• Are staff experiences of eLearning and levels of self-efficacy related to the
type of staff development provided:
2. Why are some staff development models more effective than others?
• Does the use of metacognitive strategies in professional development have
an effect on self-efficacy levels of learners?
• Does the level of self-effiacy influence staff experiences of eLearning and
how they apply their knowledge to courses using online delivery?
4.1 - Participant 2
An example of a lecturer with little experience using eLearning is Participant 2.
Participant 2 has taught vocational courses using traditional methods for the last 9 years,
but as at the time of completing the online survey, no programmes or courses were
being supported by eLearning in his school/department. Given that this participant has
had minimal experience in using eLearning tools in his teaching, it is not surprising that
this participant stated that overall he was neither confident nor unconfident in using
eLearning tools and methods in his teaching (mean efficacy score = 3). This score was
below the mean efficacy score of 3.8 for the study group, indicating that overall he was
relatively less confident than the majority of participants.
The first question to consider is how Participant 2’s experiences of eLearning and levels
of self-efficacy relate to the type of staff development he has engaged in. Participant 2
has engaged in a number of formal courses which have been delivered both online and
face to face and is currently studying towards a graduate certificate in eLearning. In
addition to studying for a qualification, Participant 2 has also developed knowledge and
skills in general computing and in specialist software such as Blackboard, Flash and
Dreamweaver, with all formal learning being completed within his employing
institution. It would appear that Participant 2 has engaged in a range of formal learning
opportunities, but these have not necessarily had an impact on his self-efficacy. Indeed,
it would appear that Participant 2 has probably not been able to capitalise on these
learning experiences much given that at the time he completed the online survey he had
had little opportunity to apply his new learning in his own school.
In the post survey interview, Participant 2 identified some of the barriers to
implementation of eLearning in his school which included poor access to the necessary
hardware (including PC’s for all staff and digital cameras). Participant 2 mentioned that
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf
Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf

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Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report.pdf

  • 1. Approaches and implications of eLearning Adoption in Relation to Academic Staff Efficacy and Working Practice Final Report Lead Researchers Bronwyn Hegarty Merrolee Penman Institutional Researchers Cheryl Brown Dawn Coburn Beverley Gower Oriel Kelly Grant Sherson Gordon Suddaby Project Manager Maurice Moore September 2005 Prepared with the assistance of a Ministry of Education contract to UCOL, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
  • 2. ISBN 0-478-13384-7 ISBN 0-478-13385-5 (Internet) © Copyright: UCOL - Universal College of Learning, 2005
  • 3. Table of Contents Executive Summary ........................................................................................ 1 Definitions........................................................................................................ 3 Chapter One: Introduction.............................................................................. 4 1.1 Overview ................................................................................................................ 4 1.2 Rationale for the Project......................................................................................... 4 1.3 Research Goals ....................................................................................................... 5 1.4 Stages of the Project ............................................................................................... 5 1.5 Literature Review and Main Points........................................................................ 6 Chapter Two: Methodology ............................................................................ 8 2.1 Research Design ..................................................................................................... 8 Chapter Three: Results................................................................................. 13 3.1 Focus Group Findings .......................................................................................... 13 3.2 Online Questionnaire............................................................................................ 20 3.3 Interviews ............................................................................................................. 38 Chapter Four: Case Studies Of Individuals................................................. 39 4.1 - Participant 2 ....................................................................................................... 39 4.2 - Participant 13 ..................................................................................................... 42 4.3 - Participant 76 ..................................................................................................... 44 4.4 - Participant 91 ..................................................................................................... 46 4.5 - Participant 49 ..................................................................................................... 49 4.6 - Participant 81 ..................................................................................................... 51 Chapter Five: Case Studies Of Efficacy And Staff Development.............. 54 5.1 Self-efficacy for eLearning................................................................................... 54 5.2 eLearning Tools and Methods.............................................................................. 57 5.3 Staff development................................................................................................. 75 5.4 Learning Strategies for Teachers......................................................................... 85 5.5 Application of Staff Development and eTeaching Methods ................................ 97 5.6 Suggestions......................................................................................................... 101 Chapter Six: Discussion, Conclusions and Future Research ................. 105 6.1 Staff Development and Adoption of eLearning ................................................. 105 6.2 Overview of Six Individual Case Studies........................................................... 113 6.3 Were the Research Questions Answered?.......................................................... 114 6.4 Limitations of the research ................................................................................. 115 6.5 Conclusions ........................................................................................................ 116 6.6 Implications for Further Study ........................................................................... 117
  • 4. References................................................................................................... 118 APPENDIX - A : FOCUS GROUP QUESTIONS .......................................... A-1 APPENDIX - B : QUESTIONNAIRES........................................................... B-1 APPENDIX - C : INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................................. C-1 APPENDIX - D : DATA FROM ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE ........................ D-1
  • 5. Figures and Tables Figure 1: Four Factors which Influence the Effectiveness of Staff Development Models .......................................................................................................................................... 6 Figure 2: Overall Efficacy using eLearning Tools and Methods in Teaching (n=82) ... 23 Figure 3: Frequency of high and very high efficacy for five aspects of eLearning (n=82) ........................................................................................................................................ 23 Figure 4: Mean Efficacy scores for Personal Efficacy (n=82)...................................... 25 Figure 5: Average Efficacy Score for Using eLearning Tools (n=82).......................... 26 Figure 6: Average Efficacy Score for Setting up an Online Course (n=82)................... 27 Figure 7: Average Efficacy Score for Personal Characteristics (n=82) ......................... 28 Figure 8: Frequency of Pedagogical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n=82) ........................................................................................................................................ 30 Figure 9: Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own and Other Institutions (n=82) ........................................................................................................................................ 31 Figure 10: Frequency of Informal Staff Development (n = 82) ..................................... 32 Figure 11: Learning Strategies used by Academic Staff to Develop Skills for e-Learning (n=82) ............................................................................................................................. 34 Figure D-1: Frequency of General Computing Instruction (n=82) D-4 Figure D-2: Frequency of Technical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n-82) D-5 Figure D-3: Frequency of Pedagogical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n=82) D-5 Figure D-4: Frequency of Specialist Software Instruction (n=82) D-6 Table 1: Formal staff development options.................................................................... 13 Table 2: Informal options for staff development in eLearning ...................................... 17 Table 3: Comparison of teaching and eTeaching........................................................... 20 Table 4: Relationships between eTeaching and efficacy (n = 82).................................. 21 Table 5: Significant relationships between efficacy scores of six characteristics and question........................................................................................................................... 24 Table 6: Mean and standard deviation and correlation between the number of formal and informal staff development sessions........................................................................ 31 Table 7: Formal qualifications completed by participants and on offer by institutions participating in the study. ............................................................................................... 79 Table 8: Courses mentioned by participants in the study............................................... 97 Table D-1: Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own or Other Institution (n=82) ...................................................................................................................................... D-2 Table D-2 : Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own or Other Institution (n=82) ...................................................................................................................................... D-2 Table D-3: Different Modes and Types of Formal Staff development at Own Institution (n=82) ........................................................................................................................... D-4 Table D-4: Frequency of choice for different types of informal staff development. ... D-6 Table D-5: Types of Learning Strategies for eLearning Skill Development .............. D-7
  • 6. Acknowledgements The research team is very grateful to the following people for their valuable contributions to the project: Trevor Billany, Massey University, for his contribution to focus group and early part of the project. Derek Christie, WINTEC, for advice and assistance with statistics. James Hegarty, PhD, Dunedin, for consultancy services concerning the self-efficacy section of the questionnaire and analysis. Mark Nichols, UCOL, for his contribution to the focus group interviews, questionnaire and literature review. The Expert Panel for their support and feedback, namely: Cathy Gunn, PhD, University of Auckland; Carmel McNaught, PhD; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Renata Phelps, PhD, Southern Cross University; Lai Wing, PhD, University of Otago. Sheila Grainger, PhD, UCOL, for feedback on documents. Research assistants from each of the partner institutions. Participants for their time and interest in the project. TOPNZ (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand) and CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology) staff (Michelle Strand and Nicky Page, PhD) for coordinating participants from their institutions to pre-test the questionnaire.
  • 7. 1 Executive Summary This research project was conducted to provide a snapshot of staff development and self-efficacy in eLearning in the tertiary sector in New Zealand. The project was funded from the 2004-2005 Tertiary e-Learning Research Fund (TeLRF), administered by the Ministry of Education as part of their Tertiary Education Strategy 2002-2007. Researchers and participants for the project were from six institutions, namely: • UCOL (Universal College of Learning) the lead institution, • Otago Polytechnic as lead researchers, • MIT (Manukau Institute of Technology), • WINTEC (Waikato Institute of Technology), • Dunedin College of Education and • Massey University. An expert panel of researchers from the field of eLearning in New Zealand and Australia were invited to oversee research procedures and findings. Rationale The research project was conducted to investigate whether staff development for eLearning in place at the six institutions for eLearning helped staff develop their capability and confidence to utilise new technologies for teaching. Staff development has been identified by other researchers as a factor associated with the adoption of eLearning in the tertiary sector. The researchers were aware of a number of different models of staff development in use, categorised as either competency-based work-shops for technical skills, just-in-time) or capability-based (metacognitive strategies e.g. mentoring) or formal qualifications in eLearning. It was understood from other research studies, that timely and appropriate staff development, in a supportive and strategic institutional culture, was more likely to lead to an enhanced adoption of eLearning Research Process Case study methodology was used to investigate three main questions: the range of eLearning staff development models offered by New Zealand tertiary providers; how staff development models prepared academic staff for eLearning and the relationship to self-efficacy; why some models were more effective than others. In other words this research aimed to investigate the effect of meta-cognitive strategies on self-efficacy, and the association with how learners applied their knowledge. The research was conducted in four stages: Stage 1: focus groups were carried out to establish common terms used by staff in various institutions to aid in the development in the questionnaire Stage 2: implementation of an online questionnaire to survey self-efficacy of staff in eLearning as facilitated through staff development (formal and informal) opportunities, Stage 3: individual interviews of selected staff. Stage 4: two types of case study were developed - individual and thematic – to provide a snapshot of the current situation with staff development for eLearning. The findings are merely representative of polytechnic, university and college of education academic staff not conclusive regarding the tertiary sector.
  • 8. 2 In addition an in-depth literature review was used to inform the development of the questionnaire, and design of the individual interviews. The qualitative data (comments on online questionnaire and interviews) was interpreted using thematic analyses. The quantitative data (self rating scores) was analysed using descriptive statistics. Findings Overall, participants scored high self-efficacy for eLearning, and the majority had some experience in eTeaching. Most people had attended formal staff development workshops, and all participants used a wide range of strategies for self-directed staff development (informal). There were four main findings: • There was a predominance of competency-based workshops and support offered by all six institutions (face-to-face, online, one-on-one, mentoring) as well as qualifications, just-in-time support, show casing and visiting expert seminars. • Informal staff development was the most common practice and there was evidence of staff using metacognitive strategies for their learning. • Existing formal staff development models in the six institutions were not adequate to assist staff to fully develop their capability and potential for eLearning as they were mainly providing a beginning competency. • The findings of this project were consistent with research elsewhere in the New Zealand tertiary sector, for example, Mitchell, Clayton, Gower, Barr and Bright (2005) in relation to factors impacting on staff who engage with eLearning, and some of the impediments which may affect adoption of eLearning, e.g. time and adequate support. Recommendations The following recommendations are made in the interests of developing capability for both academic and support staff and to extend the potential of eLearning for staff and students alike. 1. Apply a multi-faceted approach to staff development using competency-based and capability-based methods. Staff development should be designed to meet each institution’s specific needs, and situated in the programmes and teaching methods required by staff, as opposed to staff having to take training focussed on a LMS and work to fit their teaching to it. a. Flexible delivery methods, and a variety of strategies to promote experimentation and exploration, would make staff development accessible to a broader selection of staff. b. A project team approach could be used to foster staff through metacognitive learning process with both training and scholarly activity used to cover technical and pedagogical aspects. Within the team would be a number of peers and the appropriate support personnel including an expert peer as a mentor. Additionally, this approach would promote a community of practice and result in a “snowball” effect on other staff. 2. Provide incentives including funding, time release and promotion for staff who engage in project team, mentoring and community of practice approaches to staff development for the planning and implementation of flexible courses. Suggestions for further research are listed in Chapter Six.
  • 9. 3 Definitions eLearning - the use of multimedia technologies (e.g. Internet-based, CDROM technologies, video, audio, teleconference) as resources for learning. eTeaching - the use of multimedia technologies for teaching. Metacognitive strategies – involve deep learning and active strategies which self-regulated learners use to plan, organise, self-teach, self-monitor and self-evaluate as part of their learning process. Self-efficacy - the belief people have in their own abilities to perform in particular areas. The higher the level of self-efficacy the more confident one is to deal with challenges. Formal staff development - courses/workshops as well as staff development that might occur through mentoring or facilitating. The type of staff development included here is formally recognised, part of your workload, remunerated possibly and may or may not be driven by staff developers. Informal staff development - learning that takes place outside of structured or contracted learning situations. It is not formally recognised, may not be a recognised part of workload, is not remunerated, and may or may not be driven by Head of School/Department, Dean or Staff Developers.
  • 10. 4 Chapter One: Introduction 1.1 Overview This project was one of the 2004-2005 Tertiary e-Learning Research Fund (TeLRF) contracts awarded by the Ministry of Education. Researchers for the project were from several institutions which currently provide staff development training for academic staff involved in eLearning. UCOL (Universal College of Learning) was the lead institution for project management, Otago Polytechnic was the lead institution for research, and four other institutions also provided researchers and participants. They were MIT (Manukau Institute of Technology), WINTEC (Waikato Institute of Technology), Dunedin College of Education and Massey University. . TOPNZ (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand) and CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology) provided participants for a pilot to test the questionnaire. An expert panel was established from a pool of eLearning colleagues who were well known in New Zealand and Australia and their brief was to oversee research procedures and findings. 1.2 Rationale for the Project If institutional productivity in eLearning was affected by staff inadequately skilled and resourced in ICT (information and communication technologies) and pedagogy for online teaching and learning, an investigation such as this project would help to uncover the missing links. At the time of the research, several different models of staff development were being used in New Zealand for eLearning, such as: • Competency-based training in the form of short ‘hands on’ workshops which focus on the acquisition of ICT and LMS1 skills; • Capability-based professional development which incorporates metacognitive strategies for learning • Workshops and courses which address the theory of pedagogy, design and online facilitation • Individual and group training for specific vocational areas • Mentoring • ‘Just in time’ and ‘as needed’ support • Professional development for eLearning – conferences, literature, discussion lists/forums, eLearning qualifications, networking, communities of practice The researchers believed that capability in eLearning was wider than just the acquisition of technical skills (Ellis and Phelps, 1999; Phelps, Ellis, and Hase, 2001; Phelps, & Ellis, 2002; Phelps, accepted 2005). They saw a need for staff development which was designed to help teaching staff overcome fear and anxiety, and motivate them to become involved in new technologies for teaching. Also there was a need to address pedagogy and educational design for the online environment, and challenge staff to broaden their experience. Where staff were inadequately skilled for eTeaching, course development for online delivery was often kept at a basic level with the provision of course notes and some email communication. Additionally, the development and design of courses which fully embrace what many authorities believe are quality indicators, e.g. resource-based learning (RBL) and constructivist methods, appeared to be limited. In the interests of quality eLearning, several 1 Learning Management System
  • 11. 5 researchers (2 see reference list) and quality assurance bodies (3 see reference list) have looked for a connection between quality learning experiences and skilled staff. It appeared that low level ICT skills, as well as an unwillingness to experiment and try new ways of teaching, was linked to self-efficacy,4 and success with eLearning. It was believed that a research project to examine existing staff development models and their effectiveness would inform future professional development strategies for eLearning both nationally and internationally. 1.3 Research Goals The research goals were to: • Investigate a range of staff development (SD) models for eLearning, offered by a cross section of New Zealand institutions, in the Polytechnic, University and College of Education sectors, using case study research methodology. • Compare staff experiences with a range of SD models, for example, traditional ICT (information and communication technology) competency-based training workshops; capability-based eLearning and alternative models – ‘just in time’, 1:1 customised group training, mentoring etc. • Explore staff experiences with eLearning through the links between staff development models (ICT training versus capability-based PD) and eLearning self- efficacy, and subsequent application to course development. The research project used focus groups, a questionnaire, interviews and content analysis of questionnaire comments and interviews to gather data for the establishment of a series of case studies depicting the type of staff development models in use to prepare staff for eLearning. The data were also collected to determine whether staff development and self- efficacy with eLearning were linked to the way staff actually teach online. 1.4 Stages of the Project The research was conducted in four stages: Stage 1- Focus Group Participants were invited to join in a focus group session to establish a foundation for existing staff development models and terminology to be used in the questionnaire. Eight to ten participants at each of the institutions involved in the research project contributed to a structured focus group discussion. Stage 2- Online Questionnaire A two part questionnaire was developed to examine self-efficacy with eLearning (part A) and experiences with staff development for eLearning (part B). Part A was developed in consultation with a clinical psychologist and an Expert Panel. This part of the questionnaire was tested for internal criterion validity with a pilot sample. The questionnaire was administered online. 2 (Schwier, 1995; Bednar et al, 1995; Hedberg, Brown & Arrighi, 1997; Kennedy, 1997; Robyler, Edwards and Havriluk, 1997; Wilson, 1997; Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 1999; Phipps and Merisotis, 2000; Brennan, R. McFadden, M. & Law, E. 2001; Mayes, 2001; Nichols, 2001; NSDC/NICI, 2001; Rowlands 2001; Herrington, Oliver and Reeves, 2002; Husson and Waterman; 2002; Sims, 2003) 3 ANTA, 2002; Haddad and Draxler, 2002; DfES, 2003; Ministry of Education, 2004; Parker, 2004) 4 Self-efficacy is about the belief people have in their own abilities to perform in particular areas (Pajares, 2002).
  • 12. 6 Stage 3- Interview Participants who filled out the online questionnaire were invited to submit their name and contact details if they were willing to be interviewed. Institutions partnered up for the interview process so that staff could be interviewed by a researcher external to their own institution. Up to five interviews were conducted per institution. Stage 4 – Case Studies Two types of case studies were developed. Case studies about individual situations related to staff development and eLearning and case studies in relation to the themes which emerged from content analysis of the online questionnaire and subsequent interviews. These provide a snapshot of specific examples and also an overview of what is happening in eLearning in the tertiary sector in New Zealand. 1.5 Literature Review and Main Points A literature review was undertaken so that a comparison with staff development models could be made and information gathered about factors affecting adoption of eLearning, self- efficacy and eLearning and institutional efficacy. The literature was also used to establish baseline questions for the online questionnaire by finding out what had already been done in the area of staff development, self-efficacy and technology. The following diagrams illustrate some of the main points established by the literature review. Figure 1: Four Factors which Influence the Effectiveness of Staff Development Models
  • 13. 7
  • 14. 8 Chapter Two: Methodology The lead researchers were responsible for the research design, and along with researchers from the other five participating institutions collaborated to collect and analyse data. The sample was wide-ranging but kept at a manageable size. The study used four major methods to collect and present data: Focus Groups, online questionnaire, interviews and case studies. 2.1 Research Design Case study research (Gall et al., 1996; Mason, 1992b) was selected as the most appropriate methodology to investigate the research questions. Gall et al. (1996) clearly state that case study is utilised as a methodology where the researcher plans to shed light on a phenomenon. In this study, the phenomenon chosen was the process of training and professional development (PD) in information and communication technology (ICT) for teaching online, which as yet has little research on its effectiveness. Gall et al. (1996) state that, the next step in using case study methods is to select a case for intensive study. In this study, the cases selected were existing staff development courses offered by a range of tertiary providers. Having selected the case study, the next stage was to identify the focus of the case on which the data collection and analysis would concentrate. In this study the focus of the research was intended to be whether metacognitive strategies enhanced self-efficacy with eLearning and whether self-efficacy affected the type of course design utilized for eLearning. We examined learning strategies in focus group sessions, as part of the online questionnaire and in interviews to find out how self-efficacy and staff development both influenced and shaped eTeaching. Research Questions Three research questions were investigated: • What is the range of eLearning staff development models offered by New Zealand tertiary providers? • How do SD models prepare academic staff for eLearning? o Are staff experiences of eLearning and levels of self-efficacy related to the type of staff development provided (ICT training versus capability-based PD or alternatives)? • Why are some staff development models more effective than others? o Does the use of metacognitive strategies in professional development have an effect on self-efficacy levels of learners? o Does the level of self-efficacy influence staff experiences of eLearning and how they apply their knowledge to courses using online delivery. Data Collection The sample size was wide ranging but kept to a manageable size. A range of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques were used. Focus groups, an online questionnaire and individual interviews were used to collect data. Statistical analyses such as frequency, means, median and mode as well as Pearson’s5 correlations and probabilities 5 Karl Pearson’s product-moment correlation
  • 15. 9 were calculated on both self-efficacy and staff development data from the online questionnaire. Content analysis was undertaken on qualitative data from the questionnaire and from transcribed interview data. Content analysis is an interpretive method, allowing for themes to emerge from the texts and the voice of the participant to be heard. Focus Groups Firstly, focus groups were initiated to help develop sampling tools i.e. inform terminology and questions for the online questionnaire and also to gather some initial information about participants’ experiences with eLearning. Participants in the focus group sessions included staff developers, training coordinators, eLearning support staff, instructional designers, academic staff who had attended formal staff development sessions for eLearning and staff who taught online. At the six participating institutions groups of 6-8 people were assembled for the focus group sessions. Three questions were put to each focus group. (See full details in Appendix A.) 1. What type of formal staff development support is offered at your institution to prepare you for eLearning? 2. What type of informal staff development support is offered at your institution to prepare you for eLearning? 3. What types of strategies for eLearning have you used, or are encouraged to use through formal or informal learning? Focus group sessions were either recorded as notes and summarised by the facilitator or recorded on tape and transcribed. Subsequently, the information was used to develop an online questionnaire. An overview of the findings of the focus group sessions is presented in the results section.
  • 16. 10 Online Questionnaire A total of 82 participants across all six institutions completed the online questionnaire which had three sections: general information (demographics), self-efficacy for eLearning and staff development (Appendix B). i. General information (demographics) Definitions of eTeaching and eLearning were provided as: The use of multimedia technologies (e.g. Internet-based, CDROM technologies, video, audio, teleconference) resources for teaching and learning respectively. General information included demographics as well as information about eTeaching and eLearning qualifications. ii. Self-efficacy for eLearning Self-efficacy questions were taken from work conducted by others in the area of measuring confidence associated with computer use and training (Compeau, Higgins & Huff, 1999; Phelps, 2002). The questions were modified and divided into five sections (see Appendix B) with the assistance of a consultant clinical psychologist who also provided help with testing validity and scoring of the responses. The five sections on self-efficacy examined were: 1. Personal efficacy using computer technology/eLearning tools and methods for teaching. 2. Confidence using specific eLearning tools. 3. Confidence when undertaking a project for online delivery. 4. Personal characteristics when learning new software or using eLearning tools and facilities. 5. Overall confidence using eLearning tools and methods. Validity testing Validity was measured through pilot testing the self-efficacy part of the questionnaire against parts of a self-efficacy questionnaire used by Phelps (2002) (Appendix B). Participants at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and The Open Polytechnic New Zealand were invited to participate in pilot testing (n=9). The sample was too small to ascertain statistical Internal criterion validity, therefore professional judgement was provided by the consultant who had been contracted to provide advice about the self-efficacy elements of the project. iii. Staff Development In this section, data were collected to research both formal and informal methods of staff development, the learning strategies which were used by participants and how learning and knowledge gained through staff development was applied to eTeaching. Participants were asked about the types of staff development they had undertaken in preparation for eLearning over the last 10 years. Definitions were provided for formal and informal staff development.
  • 17. 11 Formal Staff Development Questions about formal staff development were related to courses undertaken at both the participant’s own institution and other institutions in preparation for eTeaching. The options provided were: • General computing instruction e.g. Microsoft Office, email, Internet. • Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – technical (e.g. how to set up resources on Blackboard). • Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – pedagogical (e.g. how to facilitate teaching and learning). • Specialist software instruction e.g. Blackboard, Flash, Dreamweaver. Ways in which formal staff development courses and workshops were delivered was also investigated i.e. online, face-to-face, one-on-one support, mentoring, mixed mode. In all sections of the questionnaire, participants were given the opportunity to provide descriptive comments about their circumstances and opinions. Informal Staff Development A range of options were provided for participants to select from such as, conferences, working with early adopters/peers, blogs, observation of others’ online courses etc. (see full list in the questionnaire, Appendix B). Learning Strategies and Application of Staff Development Participants were asked to consider a scenario and indicate which learning strategies they had used e.g. utilise a trial and error approach, seek the help of a mentor, maintain a reflective journal etc. (see full list of options, Appendix B). The following scenario was provided: Your manager has said that you must learn how to use a new eLearning method and develop expertise in the method to aid your students’ learning. What learning strategies would you use to familiarise yourself with the method and to make sure you are a confident and competent practitioner? For the last part of the questionnaire, participants were asked to describe one or two examples of how formal and/or informal staff development had shaped their eTeaching.
  • 18. 12 Analysis of Questionnaire Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, mean, median and mode were used and scores of efficacy in using eLearning methods and tools were estimated for each participant. Correlation statistics were used to determine if there were links between eLearning self- efficacy and staff experiences of eLearning, and between self-efficacy in eLearning and formal staff development. Content analysis of comments was used to determine any themes and trends. Judgement was also used to establish whether there was a pattern. Profiles of individuals willing to be interviewed were developed using data from the online questionnaire. The profiles enabled both generic and questions specific to individuals to be developed for the interviews. Interviews Interviews with five participants from each institution were planned. Prior to interviews being conducted, descriptive profiles were compiled from the questionnaire data. There were several reasons for this and they were to: 1. Select appropriate participants for interview. 2. Ensure a diverse range of participants with varying experiences were sampled in a more in-depth way i.e. by interview. 3. Provide background information for the interviewers. 4. Modify interview questions to fit each interviewee’s individual situation. 5. Provide a basis for developing case studies about individual participants. Content analysis of transcribed interviews was used to determine trends and themes. Pre- determined categories for content analysis were as follows: • eLearning tools and methods. • User confidence. • User preparedness. • Institutional support. • Challenge and how handled. • Challenge and possible help. • Formal staff development. • Informal staff development. • How staff development was applied to eTeaching. • Learning strategies. • Issues/problems. • Suggestions. It was also expected that other themes would emerge from the content analysis. Case Studies Case studies were compiled from six individual profiles which represented a range of participant experiences with eLearning, and secondly from the themes which emerged from content analysis of the interviews and from analysis of the online questionnaire data. The former case studies are presented as Case Studies of Individuals and the latter as Case studies of eLearning Efficacy and Staff Development.
  • 19. 13 Chapter Three: Results Results are organised in three sections: Focus Group findings, online questionnaire results – demographics, efficacy and staff development – and interviews. A summary for each section is also included. 3.1 Focus Group Findings An overview of the findings from the focus groups held at the start of the research project is presented in this section of the results. Three questions were put to each focus group. 1. What type of formal staff development support is offered at your institution to prepare you for eLearning? 2. What type of informal staff development support is offered at your institution to prepare you for eLearning? 3. What types of strategies for eLearning have you used, or are encouraged to use through formal or informal learning? Responses for all six of participating institutions have been collated and are presented together rather than being linked to any individual institution. The focus group questions informed the staff development section of the online questionnaire by providing terminology common to all six institutions to shape the questions. Invitations to the focus group sessions were extended to staff developers, training coordinators, eLearning support staff, instructional designers, academic staff who had attended formal staff development sessions for eLearning and staff who taught online but had not necessarily attended formal staff development. 3.1.1 Formal Staff Development A range of formal options were provided in institutions, and are shown in Table 1 below: • Workshops – technical and pedagogical. • Sessions associated with the introduction of a Learning Management System (LMS). • eLearning qualifications. • Overseas and local experts – seminar and workshop sessions. • Mini conferences in-house. • Sharing of best practice seminars. • Computing courses. • Mentoring. • Just-in-time help and resources. • Departmental sessions. • Drop in sessions - offered in a variety of flexible delivery modes. • Encouragement to attend conferences e.g e-Fest and ASCILITE. Table 1: Formal staff development options Participants mentioned that the timing of the support was important, for example, just before a semester started was very useful but ‘just in time’ was best.
  • 20. 14 Two institutions collaboratively organised a two day series of workshops with another local provider, and invited well-known experts in eLearning to conduct the workshops. Staff were invited free of charge and given a mix of best practice “show and tell” examples, theory about eLearning and hands on activities. The series provided learning for both staff new to eLearning and those with some experience. Some places had qualifications for online teaching and learning specific to their own institution and others were developed collaboratively. Some included elements of eLearning exposure and others were primarily about eLearning. Some qualifications were compulsory for staff, and provided free, others were optional and had a cost involved. Some courses about eLearning were part of other qualifications, e.g. Introduction to On-Line Learning (ITOL) a small optional course in the Certificate in Adult Learning, and a 300 level course called Applied eLearning and Adult Education in the Bachelor of Applied Social Science. Others were complete qualifications e.g. Online Learning and Teaching Certificate programme, Certificate in Educational Technology and Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning. In some institutions, staff were given incentives to undertake study for qualifications. Incentives included professional development time, free fees and promotion. One institution offered qualifications in eLearning at three levels of accreditation (level 5, 6 and 7), so there was a lot of choice for staff. In some cases, people tended to take specific one-off accredited eLearning courses for professional development rather than undertake full qualifications. Four of the institutions participating in this research project had collaboratively developed a qualification called the Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning. Participants could complete the full qualification, and several were intending to do this, or take two of the courses as stand-alone courses. Some staff also undertook credited qualifications and courses offshore as distance students, and found the experience of being a student helped their teaching as well as providing skills and theoretical knowledge for eTeaching. Workshops and computing classes for educating staff about a new LMS tended to be approached from a technical focus i.e. how to use the functions of the LMS, with some considerations about design included. Pedagogy tended to be covered in credited courses attached to qualifications, as opposed to training workshops. There were issues regarding the type of support offered. Staff support to undertake the qualifications was variable between institutions, with some having fees paid unconditionally but no time allocation to participate, others had fees paid on passing the full qualification and others were required to negotiate the use of their professional development allowance. There were other examples around support. In one institution, for example, IT Services provided software training in Dreamweaver, but any links or usage for eLearning had to be made by the participants themselves as that aspect was not covered at all. Also, courses were often fully booked so staff could not get access to training when needed. There was mention of situations where expertise in relation to eLearning was becoming the realm of a select few. In one instance, academic staff were discouraged from researching into the capabilities of new or different technologies themselves, because support people saw it as their role to do that and advise academic staff members about the suitability of the technology. This was also the case where students were employed
  • 21. 15 to do web production work but at the end of the contract, staff were left “high and dry” and didn’t know how to maintain the resources. At the same institution, a comment was made that there was also little idea of the importance of providing staff development to assist staff to try out different technologies and develop their capability; it was believed that if support staff were ‘doing the technical work’, then academic staff didn’t need to “tinker”. When building courses and using technologies people tended to go to institutional training courses as offered e.g. Blackboard, and seek the help of others with experience who mentored them. Courses varied from LMS related instruction to areas such as web page design and development. The driving force for attending staff development sessions came from two quarters: staff members’ desire to learn more about eLearning, and where staff were given the responsibility of leading eLearning in their section or department In some institutions, courses weren’t continued because staff seemed to prefer one-on- one, just-in-time or departmental sessions, hence there was quite a bit of individual assistance given as support for using Blackboard, and sessions where an overview of how Blackboard could be used was shown to staff. For some this occurred during orientation to the institution. Some staff felt that although courses at other institutions were paid for there was a lack of direction in their own institution apart from being given time to find out how to do eLearning. Conversely in other institutions there was no reduction in workload or additional remuneration for staff engaging in formal eLearning development. Some early adopters had undertaken training in more than one eLearning system e.g. Web Crossing, WebCT, Blackboard and other software, and in a variety of ways such as formal workshops at other institutions, online and informally. Their learning had then been extended to setting up online courses and mentoring others. Some participants had been influenced by observing peers teaching online and were interested in working with a mentor in the same area as themselves. A formal arrangement that was described was called COLIG (College OnLine Interest Group), and as a direct result of contacts made in this group, some buddying-up had occurred on an informal basis. 3.1.2 Informal Staff Development Many participants regarded the informal strategies as a valuable source of staff development. It was noted that both the people assisting with staff training and the recipients of the training and support gained new knowledge through informal staff development methods. People at one institution commented that the skills learned in workshops were often forgotten, and it was good to have peers to help them afterwards. Some were put off by people who knew everything as they felt “dumb” if they didn’t know what they were doing. A peer who could assist with “just-in-time” help, and who didn’t mind being asked over and over was mentioned as a valuable learning resource. At some institutions, a project team approach was taken and staff worked as subject matter experts alongside members of a support team when setting up their online courses. At others, staff development support for building an online course included instructional design, mentoring and training either for individuals or for small groups. In one case, an in-house publication about eLearning enabled guest writers to share their experience and best practice with readers. There were also examples of people who had taken the “lone ranger” approach i.e. “needing to be everything - trying to be
  • 22. 16 everything”. In other words, trying to become technical experts when they would have been better as subject experts. Informal support from eLearning experts was variable. Help was available from ‘early adopters’ and was usually an excellent source in one institution but only occurred if it was asked for. It was also reported that early adopters often did not actively seek to provide support to other staff. Additionally, some support was available from locally based IT staff, again, if requested rather than offered. In another institution, mentoring was provided by early adopters in departments and programmes. Some staff attended Blackboard conferences and other conferences related to eLearning e.g. DEANZ6 , e-Fest, ASCILITE7 which were helpful. These provided an introduction to eLearning from which they could explore different options. Often it was mainly support staff who attended conferences specific to eLearning, whereas academic staff tended to go to conferences related to their own specific subject area. Some people felt that reports and recommendations made following conferences tended to get lost in institutional bureaucracy, meaning opportunities for expanding eLearning in such institutions were lost. A range of informal techniques were used for staff development in eLearning, and these are shown in Table 2 below: 6 Distance Education Association of NZ 7 Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
  • 23. 17 Peer Support Organised and Expert Support Individual Pursuits • Newsletters. • Departmental cross pollination of ideas. • Buddies. • Casual assistance. • Team teaching. • Swapping of teaching resources. • Staff online discussion forum. • List serves. • Newsgroups. • Blogging. • Working with peers to set up courses. • Involvement in projects. • Access to others’ online courses. • Feedback from students. • Peer support. • Projects. • Teaching others. • Family and friends • Phone and face-to-face support by experts in a central team. • IT assistance from librarians. • Visits to other institutions. • General computing courses. • Show and tell sessions. • Conferences – face-to- face and online. • Consultation with support team/instructional designer/staff developer/multimedia developer. • Running a Blackboard site Helpdesk. • On-line journals. • Reading. • Web searches. • Looking for other examples. • Exploring and problem-solving for both their own use and to help other staff. • ‘How to do it’ resources. • Internet-based research. • Trial and error. • Production of learning objects. • Building web pages. • Textbook cartridges. • Free online websites for online learning. • eLearning methods used in formal study associated with professional disciplines. • Awards and scholarships e.g. flexible learning leadership. • Notes from courses. • Manuals. • Magazines. Table 2: Informal options for staff development in eLearning
  • 24. 3.1.3 Strategies for eLearning There was some confusion about what was meant by learning strategies. Items in the following list were mentioned in response to the question about strategies, and as can be seen these responses were similar to several of the items mentioned under informal staff development. • A personal development site in which to ‘play’ and test. • Problem-based learning. • Web searches on topics of interest. • Development of personal resource of information on eLearning. • Observation of others’ Blackboard sites helped with ideas. • Reading institutional newsletter about eLearning to pick up ideas. • User group for Blackboard helps with swapping ideas and resources. • Online discussion forum helps with ideas. • Computing courses and formal eLearning qualifications . • Asking librarians. • Visits to other places. • Practising skills. • Attending Blackboard days. • Journaling. • List serve membership. • Attending sessions by visiting educators for inspiration. • Support and training 1:1 from SD team. • Being part of a group project. • Help files. • Reading articles. The list of strategies mentioned by participants was varied and indicated a wide range of interest and enthusiasm for eLearning. It was evident from the range of strategies and informal staff development methods in use, that the participants taking part in the focus groups were engaging with eLearning, and were willing to explore and keep up to date. 3.1.4 Other Methods used for Support Support was provided in creative ways such as an automatic email four weeks after a consultation with the support person, which asked how things were progressing. This technique triggered staff into thinking about the issues again, and to ask more questions of the support person. Additionally, support staff gave themselves a ‘super-designer’ access to all the online courses in their area, which enabled them to check on progress and provide support and ongoing pedagogical advice. 3.1.5 Other Points Raised • Whether it was formal or informal, the need for pedagogical or technical support occurred across different time frames. Pedagogical support was needed prior to development work, but technical support was most useful when provided on a ‘just in time’ basis. • It was found that when online, formal, staff development sessions finished, interaction between participants ended as well. It was felt that some semi-formal arrangement was needed to help the interactions continue such as an online forum or newsgroup.
  • 25. 19 • Central support was mixed with local support at some of the larger institutions. In most cases, local mentoring support was informal and ad hoc. • It was felt in some institutions that formal eLearning staff development had focussed on how to use a particular technology e.g. Blackboard rather than providing an overview of the potential of eLearning, the possible contribution to teaching and learning and the transformative opportunities eLearning provided. In one case, technical support was being dropped and replaced by pedagogical support. • Several participants commented that they would like to see an institutional direction set for eLearning. 3.1.6 Summary The focus groups provided a snapshot of opinions about formal and informal staff development and learning strategies used by staff in their professional development for eLearning. The aim was to gather a common terminology to inform the online questionnaire and this was achieved. Additionally, some information about processes and issues related to staff development for eLearning was gathered and this has provided a valuable overview related to the institutions who are participating in this research project.
  • 26. 20 3.2 Online Questionnaire The results of the online questionnaire presented to academic staff at six institutions in New Zealand attracted 82 responses overall. For the purposes of this project the following definitions were used: eTeaching and eLearning relate to the use of multimedia technologies (e.g. Internet-based, CDROM technologies, video, audio, teleconference) resources for teaching and learning respectively. The results are organised under the following headings:| ̇ Demographics – years teaching and eTeaching, qualifications ̇ Efficacy in eLearning – personal, tools, projects, practical ̇ Staff development o Formal – own institution and other institutions o Informal ̇ Learning strategies used to develop skills for eLearning ̇ Application of staff development to eTeaching 3.2.1 Demographics In this section of the questionnaire, factors such as age, role, gender, years teaching and years eTeaching were investigated, along with the percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools in 2004 and the percentage anticipated in 2005. Participants were also asked about any study they were currently undertaking for a qualification which encompassed eLearning and any qualifications obtained in the area of eLearning. The respondents’ ages ranged from 27 years to 67 years (mean=48, SD=8.6), and there were 31 males compared to 49 females and two undisclosed. Participants were primarily lecturers or tutors, and also included professors, course advisors, consultants, programme managers, instructional designers and a Kaiwhakahaere Tikanga Ako. Years teaching ranged from 2 to 45 (mean=16.8, SD=9.8; median=15), and years eTeaching ranged from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 20 (mean=3.49, SD=4.1; median=2). Comparison of Teaching Median Minimum Maximum Mean SD Years Teaching 15 2 45 16.8 9.8 Years eTeaching 2 0 20 3.49 4.1 % eTeaching in 2004 25 0 100 41.2 41 % eTeaching in 2005 45 0 100 46.2 41.5 Table 3: Comparison of teaching and eTeaching • % eTeaching refers to the proportion of teaching undertaken in 2004 and 2005 which involved eLearning tools and methods.
  • 27. 21 Twenty respondents (24.4%) were studying for qualifications which encompassed eLearning, the programmes included were: Online Teaching & Learning Certificate, Post graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, Certificate in Educational Technology, Certificate in Frontline Management, Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, Doctor Health Science, Graduate Diploma in eLearning, Master of Nursing. Nineteen respondents (23.2%) had already obtained qualifications in eLearning including: Graduate Diploma in Information Technology in Education, Master in Education - Computers in Education, Certificate in Educational Technology, MA in Open and Distance Education, Certificate in Online Education and Training, Certificate in eLearning, Certificate in Online Learning. As can be seen in Table 4 below, there was no relationship between overall efficacy and years eTeaching (r = 0.14, p = 0.21). There was, however, a moderate association (r = 0.358, p = 0.001) between percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools (methods) in 2004, and the efficacy score for overall confidence using eLearning tools. Additionally, as would be expected, there was a correlation (r = 0.542, p = 0) between years eTeaching and percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools (methods) in 2005. No relationship, however, between percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools (methods) in 2005 and overall confidence (r = 0.092, p = 0.41). Comparison of eTeaching and Efficacy Overall efficacy % Teaching in 2004 % Teaching in 2005 % Teaching in 2004 0.358* % Teaching in 2005 0.092 0.163 Years eTeaching 0.14 0.27 0.542* Table 4: Relationships between eTeaching and efficacy (n = 82) • Probability (p) significant at less than 0.006 for all measurements of r. • % eTeaching refers to the proportion of teaching undertaken in 2004 and 2005 which involved eLearning tools and methods. 3.2.2 Efficacy in eLearning A series of questions was posed about five different aspects of efficacy i.e. confidence for eLearning. The five aspects are listed below: 1. Personal efficacy using computer technology/eLearning tools and methods for teaching. 2. Confidence using eLearning tools. 3. Confidence when undertaking a project to set up an online course. 4. Personal characteristics when learning new software or using eLearning tools and facilities.
  • 28. 22 5. Overall confidence in using eLearning tools and methods in teaching. Responses to questions in each of the five sections were scored to determine levels of efficacy in each different type of situation. Where questions were posed as negative confidence, scores were reversed to obtain the actual efficacy, for example, question 1- 05, I feel anxious about using eLearning tools and question 1-06 the thought of using eLearning methods for teaching is uncomfortable (see Table D-1, Appendix D). An analysis of questionnaire data was conducted using Pearson’s tests of correlation8 to determine if there were relationships between overall efficacy and variables such as years eTeaching, percentage courses taught in 2004 and 2005, and the frequency of formal staff development. Additionally, six characteristics of efficacy were selected as most important for measuring the rest against. These are listed below: • Overall efficacy in using eLearning tools and methods in teaching. • Confidence in ability to teach well in a course that requires the use of computer technology. • Not worried about making mistakes using computer technologies. • Learning how to be an eTeacher is easy. • No one around to tell you what to do as you go. • Try and persist on own until it works correctly. All efficacy characteristics in the questionnaire, apart from those relating to the section on using eLearning tools, were tested against the six characteristics using Pearson’s tests of correlation. The results are depicted in Table 5 further on in the report. A graph depicting overall confidence with eLearning is depicted in Figure 2. Thirty- nine participants (48%) indicated their overall confidence (efficacy) for using eLearning tools and methods was high and eighteen (22%) believed they had very high confidence. Ten people (13%) rated their level of overall confidence as low or very low. The mean efficacy score was 3.8 confirming that overall most participants had above average confidence with eLearning. There does not appear to be any relationship between years eTeaching and overall efficacy for using eLearning tools and methods. There was a moderate relationship, however, between the percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools in 2004 and overall efficacy (r = 0.416, p = 0). 8 Short for Karl Pearson’s product-moment correlation
  • 29. 23 Figure 2: Overall Efficacy using eLearning Tools and Methods in Teaching (n=82) When each aspect or category of questions was examined, efficacy scores were generally high or very high. For example, 88% indicated high or very high personal efficacy for eLearning, and 84% had the necessary characteristics for eLearning (see Figure 3). For each question relating to each of the five aspects of efficacy, mean efficacy scores were calculated as well as descriptive statistics such as median and mode (Table D-1, Appendix D). Mean efficacy scores which stand out for each of the five aspects of efficacy are mentioned in each of the sections below. Figure 3: Frequency of high and very high efficacy for five aspects of eLearning (n=82) 4 9 18 48 22 v low low average high v high Efficacy Score % Frequency 88 63 68 84 66 Personal efficacy and feelings eLearning Tools Setting up an online course Characteristics for eLearning Overall confidence with eLearning Aspects of eLearning % Frequency
  • 30. 24 Situations where there was a significant relationship between efficacy scores for questions and the six selected characteristics are presented in Table 5 Table 1below. Six Characteristics Overall efficacy Confident in ability to teach well Not worried about making mistakes Learning to be an eTeacher is easy No-one around to tell what to do as go Try and persist on own until it works correctly Questions Pearson’s Correlation ® 1.1. I am confident about my ability to teach well in a course that requires me to use computer technology. 0.879 1.2 I feel at ease learning about computer technology. 0.446 1.5 I feel anxious about using eLearning tools* 0.356* 1.9 I enjoy using eLearning tools. 0.316 3.2 If you had only an instruction manual for reference 0.679 3.3 If you could call someone for help if you got stuck 0.497 4.1 Expect that I will experience many problems* 0.356 0.321* 4.6 Put a lot of effort into getting it right 0.376 Probability (p) significant at less than 0.006 for all measurements of r. * Efficacy score reversed Table 5: Significant relationships between efficacy scores of six characteristics and question Most significantly, there are several correlation results displayed in Table 5 which need noting. 1. If participants were confident about their ability to teach well in a course that required them to use computer technology, they would also feel they were confident overall in using elearning tools and methods in their teaching (r = 0.879, p = 0). 2. Participants who were confident if they had only an instruction manual for reference were also confident if no-one was around to tell them what to do as they went (r = 0.679, p = 0). 3. If participants feel at ease learning about computer technology they will not be worried about making mistakes when using it for teaching (r = 0.446, p = 0). 4. Those who expect they will experience many problems will not be confident in their ability to teach well using eLearning tools and facilities (r = 0.356, p = 0.002). 5. Anxiety about using eLearning tools is associated with being worried about making mistakes when using them (r = 0.356, p = 0.002).
  • 31. 25 6. Participants who enjoy using eLearning tools find learning to be an eTeacher is easy (r = 0.316, p = 0.005). 3.2.2.1 Personal Efficacy Using Computer Technologies In this section of the questionnaire, participants were asked to answer a series of nine questions about their personal confidence and feelings about using computer technologies (Table D-1, Appendix D). For example, questions about confidence in their ability to teach well using computer technologies, anxiety about using eLearning tools and concern about the impact on teaching. Most notably, academic staff felt at ease learning about computer technologies (83%), and confident about their ability to teach well using them (77%). For 80%, the thought of using eLearning methods was uncomfortable and 69% felt anxious about using eLearning tools. Frequencies for the responses to other aspects of personal efficacy and feelings can be seen in Table D-1 (Appendix D). The mean efficacy score for learning how to be an eTeacher is easy was the lowest for all the questions at 2.8, which means that most participants lacked confidence in this area. The full range of efficacy scores is illustrated in Figure 4 below. Figure 4: Mean Efficacy scores for Personal Efficacy (n=82) 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 confidence to teach well at ease learning concerned about impact not worried about mistakes anxious using thought of using is uncomfortable tools enhance learning is easy enjoy using Mean Score of Efficacy
  • 32. 26 3.2.2.2 Confidence using eLearning Tools A range of eLearning tools was listed for participants to choose from, and Table D-1 (Appendix D) indicates the responses regarding how confident they felt using them. Most participants had a high level of confidence using email (82%), PowerPoint (77%) and text-based materials (75%), and 62% were confident using learning management systems and discussion boards, and 50% were confident with chat. The tools where participants were least confident were web pages (38%) and video streaming (35%). There were a small number of other tools used such as: PDF files, interactive tutorials, email lists, providing material via CD, DVD and Video, library journals and information databases. Mean efficacy scores for using fourteen specific kinds of eLearning tools ranged from 1.6 for audio, 2.6 for quizzes to 4.0 for email (see Figure 5).When efficacy levels were scored, frequencies were adjusted to account for the tools not used. Figure 5: Average Efficacy Score for Using eLearning Tools (n=82) 3.2.2.3 Confidence for Setting up a Course for Online Delivery In this section participants were asked to “imagine you are given a project to set up your course for online delivery” and to indicate how confident they felt in a series of situations (see questionnaire, Appendix B). The types of assistance which provided the highest levels of confidence, included the following: • Having a lot of time (85%). • Being able to call someone for help (82%). • Help getting started (79%). • Having step by step instructions to complete the project (70%). When there was no one around to tell them what to do as they went and they had only an instruction manual, confidence levels were much lower at (36%) and (43%) respectively. The lowest mean efficacy score was 2.9 and related to no help as you go 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 LMS text-based Discussion Board PowerPoint Chat email Quizzes Web pages e-journals Teleconference Simulations Audio Video streaming Video conferencing Mean Efficacy Score
  • 33. 27 and the highest was 4.3 for having a lot of time to complete the project. The complete range of efficacy scores is depicted in Figure 6. Figure 6: Average Efficacy Score for Setting up an Online Course (n=82) 3.2.2.4 Characteristics of Efficacy In this section of the questionnaire, participants were asked about their characteristics associated with either learning new software or using eLearning tools and facilities. Table D-1 (Appendix D) displays the percentage frequency of responses to each question. The participants (n = 82) had two characteristics which stood out when learning new software or using eLearning tools and facilities. They did spend extra time trying to understand what to do (83%), put a lot of effort into getting it right (83%) and did try and persist on their own if it doesn’t work (60%). On the other hand, a small number (9%) give up quickly if it doesn’t work, 17% doubt their ability to solve the problems that may arise, and 16% get someone else to do it for them or fix it. To determine efficacy, questionnaire responses which implied low efficacy e.g. question one – expect that I will experience many problems - were reversed when scoring the efficacy levels for each participant. Additionally, responses to the last question, get frustrated and annoyed at lack of progress, were removed prior to scoring efficacy levels because it is not specifically related to confidence. The lowest mean efficacy score in this section was 2.5 for need to ask others for help indicating a characteristic related to low efficacy. On the other hand, a mean efficacy of 4.1 for put a lot of effort into getting it right was a characteristic indicating high efficacy. (See Figure 7) 0 1 2 3 4 5 no help as go only instruction manual call someone for help help getting started lot of time step by step instructions Mean Efficacy Score
  • 34. 28 Figure 7: Average Efficacy Score for Personal Characteristics (n=82) 3.2.2.5 Overview of Comments from Self-efficacy Section Participants mentioned a small number of challenges associated with eLearning, for example, some saw it as “an exciting challenge” and others regarded it as stressful. Seventeen participants alluded to time as an issue with comments such as: “tricky getting back on the horse - especially when there isn’t a heap of time available to fully understand” and “I’d like to develop this area faster, but am limited by time and other duties.” Also the following comments were very revealing: “time makes the difference. Without time it just can’t be done well (or at all). I have the skills - but without time I am as useless as a complete novice”, and “yes the time factor is a big one”. The potential for eLearning was regarded as both a positive change and a dubious one. Some people could see the benefits such as better communication and class participation, but others were sceptical about the use of technology for learning. When people had experienced eLearning tools, they felt it “demystified” the process somewhat. Most were realistic, however, that the degree of difficulty depended on the way in which technology was put to use. For example, “creating good e-learning resources is more difficult unless your conception of teaching is simply knowledge transfer (i.e. a focus on low level cognitive skills).” Also, the level of support provided impacted on people’s perceptions and experiences of eLearning. For some, their concern lay with the reliability of technology rather than their lack of skill, whereas, for a small minority who had never used or learned about eLearning tools and methods, the prospect of what lay ahead was unknown. Some people liked to work with an expert who could help them turn ideas into practice, others liked to experiment. The following quote was amusing, and highlighted the wide range of opinion: “Step by step instructions make me nervous....who knows what fun you could be having otherwise”. Average Efficacy Score for Personal Characteristics (n=82) 0 1 2 3 4 5 expect problems doubt ability to solve problems ask others for help persist on own give up quickly lot of effort ask immediately for help someone else to fix spend extra time to understand Mean Efficacy Score
  • 35. 29 Support was a major theme and mentioned by twenty participants. For example, some had access to very good and adequate support for technology and course development, others did not; some wanted support to enable them to teach autonomously, e.g. “the kind of help I want is someone who can work alongside me to enable me to put my pedagogy into place online”. Others wanted someone to put their course materials online for them, and others wanted time to experiment and explore themselves. Also there were people who indicated they would try more adventurous tools and methods if they had the time and support. A few participants worried about being able to provide adequate learning and technical support for students. In general, it was evident that the infrastructure in the different institutions varied regarding the type of technical and staff development support offered. There were some interesting perceptions about eLearning, for example: “I am still a fence sitter about the whole e-learning thing and cautiously optimistic about my ability to manage the new environment”, and “using eTools is easy if you have a reason to use them, anyone can learn if given the motivation to do so”. Also, “it is better to receive a little guidance and then explore for yourself and learn”, and “frustration & inter- collegial support are built into all learning”. Generally, access to the relevant hardware and software and technological tools for teaching and learning and adequate support were most important, because without them they couldn’t expand their repertoire and develop their potential, or the potential of what was offered to students. In the following section, the findings about staff development and learning strategies are reported. 3.2.3 Staff Development Section of Questionnaire The results for this section include data relating to both formal and informal methods of staff development as well as learning strategies and applications of staff development to eTeaching. Participants were asked about the types of staff development they had undertaken in preparation for eLearning over the last 10 years. Definitions were provided for formal and informal staff development. Definition of formal staff development: Courses/workshops as well as staff development that might occur through mentoring or facilitating. The type of staff development included here is formally recognised, part of your workload, remunerated possibly and may or may not be driven by Staff Developers. Definition of informal staff development: Informal learning is any learning that takes place outside of structured or contracted learning situations. It is not formally recognised, may not be a recognised part of workload, is not remunerated, and may or may not be driven by Head of School/Department, Dean or Staff Developers. Results are presented as frequencies of the different types of staff development undertaken using graphs of percentage frequency. Relationships between different pairs of data were tested using Pearson’s correlation statistics. 3.2.3.1 Formal Staff Development Participant responses for this section related to the number of sessions they had undertaken in four different categories of formal staff development at both their own and other institutions: 1. General computing instruction e.g. Microsoft Office, email, Internet
  • 36. 30 2. Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – technical (e.g. how to set up resources on Blackboard) 3. Online teaching and learning guidance/instruction – pedagogical (e.g. how to facilitate teaching and learning) 4. Specialist software instruction e.g. Blackboard, Flash, Dreamweaver Participants most frequently attended courses at their own institution and they covered online teaching and learning instruction – technical, followed by general computing instruction, then online teaching and learning instruction – pedagogical and lastly specialist software instruction. Participants were given a choice of delivery modes to choose from: Online, face-to-face, one-on-one, mixed mode and mentoring. An example of the frequency of responses for a particular type of staff development in several modes is illustrated in Figure 8 below. Further data and all graphs can be found in Appendix D. As illustrated in Figure 8, for pedagogical online teaching and learning instruction, face-to-face workshops were most frequently attended by followed by online. Figure 8: Frequency of Pedagogical Online Teaching and Learning Instruction (n=82) For all types of formal staff development the most common mode was face-to-face followed by online and one-on-one modes, and one or two sessions of formal staff development were most common overall (see graphs in Appendix D). 3.2.3.2.1 Own Institution and Other Institution Regardless of where staff development was undertaken, the highest number of participants had engaged in one to five sessions, and the number of staff development sessions at other institutions was 42% less frequent, than at the home institution. It is evident in Figure 9 that 30% of participants undertook one to five sessions of formal staff development at their own institution compared to 24% taking them at another institution. 15% undertook no formal staff development at their own institution and 53% did not pursue staff development at another institution. 10% and 12% 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number of sessions % Frequency Online F2f 1on1 mixed mode mentoring
  • 37. 31 undertook six-to-ten and eleven-to-fifteen sessions at their own institution and 12% and 3% took sessions in that range at other institutions. Figure 9: Frequency of Formal Staff Development at Own and Other Institutions (n=82) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 0 1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 25 26 to 30 31 to 35 36 to 40 41 to 45 46 to 50 51 to 55 56 to 60 61 to 65 Number of Sessions % Frequency % Freq Formal own % Freq Formal other An examination of the mean, standard deviation for the number of formal and informal staff development sessions gives a clearer representation of the similarities (Table 6). Formal SD Informal SD Number of Sessions Own Institution Other Institution Total SD Total SD mean 7.3 8.7 11.2 7.7 SD 12.5 5.0 13.7 3.6 No correlation between formal and informal SD r = 0.14, p = 0.2 No correlation between formal SD and overall efficacy scores r = 0.05, p = 0.689 No correlation between formal SD and overall efficacy scores r = 0.04, p = 0.712 Table 6: Mean and standard deviation and correlation between the number of formal and informal staff development sessions. As can be seen in Table 6, there was no relationship between numbers of types of formal and informal staff development undertaken. There was also no relationship between the number of sessions undertaken in formal staff development or informal staff development and efficacy scores for overall confidence with eLearning tools and methods. 3.2.3.1.2 Comments about Formal Staff Development Some participants found it difficult to estimate all the staff development sessions they had undertaken formally for staff development either because they had studied a full qualification or individual papers as part of a qualification. Others could not see where projects they had undertaken would fit with the questions asked, although they believed
  • 38. 32 they came under the definition of formal staff development. Several participants had undertaken formal study in eLearning, distance or open learning as part of a Masters degree or other postgraduate programme. One contributor suggested that examples of best practice from other institutions and a training needs analysis was useful before embarking on any interventions for formal staff development. 3.2.3.2 Informal Staff Development Participants were given a list of options to choose from for informal staff development related to eLearning and also given the opportunity to add their own items. The full list of responses can be seen in Figure 10 and Table D-4, Appendix D. The top four choices were: General internet use (75%), reading/websites/ personal resources (73%), discussion with peers (71%) and working with early adopters/peers (63%). The four least favoured choices in order were: Blogs (weblogs) (10%), special interest groups (27%), drop in sessions (34%) and friends/whanau (35%). Choices favoured by the majority, i.e. above the median of 48%, but not in the top four, were: Exploration of software (59%), involvement in projects (54%), observation of others’ online courses (51%) and workshops/seminars (49%). Conferences (47%), email lists (46%) and “how to do it” resources (43%) were just below the median in popularity. Newsletters (30%) were not particularly engaged with staff development. Whether this was because newsletters were not regarded as useful by participants, or because they weren’t available is not clear. Figure 10: Frequency of Informal Staff Development (n = 82) 34 27 47 49 63 43 73 35 75 59 30 71 46 10 54 51 Drop in sessions Special interest groups Conferences Workshops/seminars Working with early adopters/peers how to do it resources Reading/websites/personal resources Friends/whanau General internet use Exploration of software Newsletters Discussion with peers Email lists Blogs (weblogs) Involvement in projects Observation of others’ online courses Types of Staff Development % Frequency
  • 39. 33 3.2.3.2.1 Overview of Comments about Informal Staff Development Several participants have found that informal staff development opportunities were often the only option available to them either because formal training was not in place or due to a lack of support from managers or a workload which prevented time for up- skilling. Some found the observation of others’ online courses to be very useful, particularly when examples of exemplary work were made available, but some hadn’t had the opportunity or were at the same stage or slightly ahead of their peers. Many were self-taught when using new software e.g Macromedia Flash, 3D and Director, though there was mention of demonstrations by companies as useful. Some participants found email instructions, “just-in-time” help, trial and error, peer assistance and a mentor useful. 3.2.3.3 Learning Strategies used to Develop Skills for eLearning Participants were asked to choose from a list of learning strategies (Table D-5, Appendix D) to answer the following scenario: Your manager has said that you must learn how to use a new eLearning method and develop expertise in the method to aid your students’ learning. What learning strategies would you use to familiarise yourself with the method and to make sure you are a confident and competent practitioner? As can be seen in Figure 11, the most commonly chosen strategies academic staff used to learn how to use a new eLearning method were: 1. Communicate with an existing practitioner (78%), 2. utilise a trial and error approach (72%) and 3. access web-based resources (71%).
  • 40. 34 Other strategies above the median frequency of 48 were: Apply the method in a real situation and engage in staff development activities (66%). Strategies such as: Observe someone else (59%) and undertake a tutorial (59%) were both on the median of choice and to seek the help of a mentor (50%) was less favoured. The least frequently used strategies were: Engage in a web-log (blogging) (5%), compile a portfolio (9%) and maintain a reflective journal (13%). Figure 11: Learning Strategies used by Academic Staff to Develop Skills for e-Learning (n=82) 43 72 9 71 13 57 5 78 59 50 62 66 59 Apply knowledge in a problem-based or scenario-based context Utilise a trial and error approach Compile a portfolio Access web-based resources Maintain a reflective journal Access text-based resources Engage in a web-log (blogging) Communicate with an existing practitioner Undertake a tutorial Seek the help of a mentor Apply the method in a real situation Engage in staff development activities Observe someone else Type of Strategy % Frequency 3.2.3.3.1 Overview of Comments about Learning Strategies There were several comments made and the general theme was people liked to try a bit of this and that, and learn skills as they were required, either by finding out information themselves, being involved in projects or by going to courses. Most liked to have a go and seek assistance as needed, which in some cases involved one-on-one or the help of a mentor. Courses run by technical personnel with no understanding of the pressures teachers worked under were not regarded as particularly useful for academic staff. Some felt their managers would not require them to do anything in particular to up-skill.
  • 41. 35 3.2.3.4 Application of Staff Development to eTeaching In this section, participants were asked to describe one or two examples of how formal and/or informal staff development had shaped their eTeaching. 3.2.3.4.1 Responses re Formal Staff Development: Twenty-seven participants referred to formal workshops as helpful for eTeaching because they provided confidence for them to get started, as well as showing them what was possible and how to cater for different learning styles. Showcase presentations by colleagues were regarded as very useful especially for staff who regarded themselves as kinaesthetic learners. Formal staff development opportunities also helped participants realise what the needs and expectations of learners might be in an eLearning environment. Structured workshops also helped staff to clarify what they were doing and gave them different strategies to improve their teaching online. The possibilities for using the Internet to enhance courses were welcomed rather than staff feeling they had to put everything totally online. Structured courses were described as either one-off workshops or workshops organised as part of an institutional drive for online teaching and learning as well as courses taken as part of formal qualifications. In some cases, staff were given the directive by their managers to put their courses online, which precipitated their pursuit of formal options for staff development. In other cases staff did most of their learning while building their courses on the proprietary Learning Management Systems e.g Blackboard or Web-CT used by their institution. It appears that the timing of workshops was important, that is, when staff needed to put courses online and could see the relevance of the skills offered therein, they tended to make more effort and got more out of them. There were a number of descriptions which stood out about how formal staff development had shaped eTeaching. In one case, where a staff member needed to update subject knowledge, informal staff development was preferred to develop eTeaching skills. For another participant, “the biggest influence was as a student on eLearning courses….. I got a real understanding of being a student and learnt the importance of communication ...” Another example was “attending a workshop on pedagogy (scenario-based learning) has enabled me to make contacts with others interested in this area… workshops and these contacts have given me ideas.” Several responses related to alternative means of obtaining formal staff development. For example, attending workshops at conferences or “research, membership of related professional bodies, hosting online discussions “. Another participant found that having to teach a tutorial helped with skill enhancement and was a good challenge. Another example was “being involved in the development of videos/CD ROMS for teaching purposes” and one person found that having “time with an advisor was invaluable …. combined with discussion with an expert colleague, and with gathering resources and then problem-solving when needed”. Responses regarding formal staff development were primarily in the affirmative, but there were twelve negative examples. Either courses were not available at all, or were held when the staff member was not involved in eLearning, and the learning was forgotten by the time they came to need the skills. This meant there was a need to find “informal means of supplementing the information”. In some cases, the courses were not relevant or useful, or presented concepts the staff member was unable to understand at the time. One response referred to inhibiting factors such as the need to study for a
  • 42. 36 professional qualification and pressure to undertake research. Additionally, comment was made about the time factor associated with setting up eLearning environments which were not just repositories of knowledge and required more development time e.g. scenario-based learning. Some participants were not enamoured with the proprietary learning management system they were required to use or there was a lack of support in using it. There were also some cases of “experts” providing advice which was unhelpful or not fully supported. Overall, formal staff development was regarded as useful in shaping eTeaching for the majority of participants. Twenty-nine participants, however, did not respond to the question. Some of these people were interviewed and would have been asked to clarify how formal staff development shaped their eTeaching and how they have applied formal learning to their courses. 3.2.3.4.1 Responses re Informal Staff Development: Participants made twenty-four references to the way informal support by colleagues had contributed to their learning either through being shown what others were doing, or through discussions with peers about practical ways to undertake eLearning development and use relevant pedagogy for the online environment. For example, • “Working in an office with someone who is keen and also competent with Blackboard, and observing their uses of it has positively influenced my participation and use” • “Seeing other people’s quizzes has affected the way I use quizzes in the course.” • “Discussions about pedagogy has affected the structure and format of the course.” Other responses related to a variety of ways in which informal staff development had helped them with eTeaching. These included how involvement in small project teams and resource development had helped some participants with eLearning, and one participant found that continual problem-solving helped to consolidate skills previously learned through formal staff development. One person thought more formal training was a good idea rather than just relying on a trial and error approach. There were a number of people who preferred just-in-time learning when they felt they were ready for it or needed it, because then it was meaningful. There were a number of comments about different informal ways of gaining skills for eLearning. Methods such as reading books, research, lunch-time drop in sessions, specific problem-solving and sharing resources with other lecturers. Some key comments about different ways of learning included the following: • “Having a sound knowledge of technology and pegagogy assisted as one could focus on learning the eTeaching tools and eTeaching methodology.” • “Many years of participation in e-lists, discussion forums and chat has shaped my understanding of on-line communities.” • “I have learned a lot from working informally with an on-line group at a UK university as a ‘visitor’ to the site.” • “Helped to develop relationships which may not have been forged so easily.” A few people also made mention of experts as helpful for practical assistance, and two people had positive experiences as students in online discussions which helped them as
  • 43. 37 lecturers. There were five statements referring specifically to the usefulness of informal staff development i.e. the “best way to learn”. A couple of statements mentioned family and friends as support agents and influences, and two people referred to time as a factor inhibiting informal exploration. One participant mentioned the importance of having someone specifically employed to assist with eLearning pedagogy as helpdesk staff were not equipped to assist with teaching and learning problems. Additionally, student feedback was regarded by two participants as a good way to find out where to make changes to the way online courses were structured. Seven responses referred to specific ways in which knowledge that was gained informally had been applied to courses. Participants described the use of email discussion groups for communicating with students, also the allocation of marks for online discussions and the benefits of posting clear instructions on the LMS. One person tried to incorporate new approaches into any courses being developed for the online environment, and another had developed a website which had attracted overseas interest. There was also the use of “animations and tutorials provided with text books” and the use of art work in PowerPoint presentations mentioned. In some cases, lecturers bought equipment they needed themselves to be innovative as it was not easily obtained in their institutions. Overall, informal staff development was also regarded as useful in shaping eTeaching, however, twenty-four people did not respond to the question and only some of these participants were interviewed to follow up their questionnaire data. 3.2.4 Summary This first section of the results for the online questionnaire established some base line information about demographics and important aspects of efficacy for eLearning and eTeaching. The relationship between efficacy for eLearning and eTeaching and the type of staff development undertaken was covered in the second section investigating types of staff development. Of the 82 participants surveyed 24% were studying for qualifications related to eLearning, and 23% had already obtained qualifications in eLearning. The average number of years participants had been eTeaching was 3.49, but overall they had experience in eTeaching ranging from zero to twenty years. Several relationships between self-efficacy variables were revealed from an analysis of questionnaire data using Pearson’s tests of correlation. For example, there was a moderate relationship between the percentage of courses taught using eLearning tools in 2004 and scores for overall efficacy i.e. the higher the percentage of courses taught in 2004, the higher their confidence for eTeaching. Additionally, two significant findings were related to learning about computer technology for teaching. The research discovered that if participants feel at ease learning about computer technology they would not be worried about making mistakes when using it for teaching, and if they enjoyed using eLearning tools they found learning to be an eTeacher was easy. Interestingly, however, there was no relationship between overall efficacy for using eLearning tools and methods and years eTeaching which might be expected. For the five aspects of efficacy selected (personal efficacy, confidence using eLearning tools, confidence setting up an online course, personal characteristics and overall
  • 44. 38 confidence) total efficacy scores for each aspect were generally high or very high (Figure 2). Hence the majority of participants sampled were generally confident using eLearning tools and methods and eTeaching. This result may be because the type of participants who chose to respond to the questionnaire generally had some experience or interest in eLearning. For example, 77% were confident about their ability to teach well using elearning tools and methods. On the other hand, however, some specific characteristics emerged such as 80% finding the thought of using eLearning methods uncomfortable and 69% feeling anxious about using eLearning tools. For specific tools, email was used most confidently (82%) followed by learning management systems (62%) and discussion boards (62%). Characteristics of note were that the majority of participants did spend extra time trying to understand what to do (83%), and put a lot of effort into getting it right (83%), and these were characteristics associated with high efficacy for eLearning. On the other hand, people who needed to ask others for help tended to have low efficacy for eLearning. In the staff development section of the questionnaire, a number of interesting findings were made. Face-to-face workshops for eLearning training were the most common delivery mode, followed by online and one-on-one modes. Also the highest percentage of people had taken one or two sessions of formal staff development, and most people undertook formal staff development at their own institutions. Where people had studied for a qualification, numbers of staff development sessions became difficult to extricate. The amount of formal staff development undertaken had no influence on informal staff development or vice versa. Nor was there any relationship between the number of sessions undertaken in formal staff development and overall confidence with eLearning tools and methods. As far as informal staff development went, the highest numbers of people chose items such as general internet use, reading/websites/ personal resources, discussion with peers and working with early adopters/peers as their most preferred methods for learning informally. Methods which were often the only means available them for up-skilling for eTeaching. The most commonly chosen strategies were to communicate with an existing practitioner, utilise a trial and error approach and access web-based resources. Metacognitive type strategies such as blogging, portfolio development and reflective journaling were not popular. Overall people liked to experiment and use just-in-time methods to learn as well as engaging in projects and courses. For most participants. both formal and informal staff development was regarded as useful in shaping eTeaching. 3.3 Interviews Twenty-seven participants who had volunteered their contact details for interview were selected to ensure those interviewed represented a range of experience with eLearning and eTeaching. Each participant was interviewed using a standard list of questions as well as questions specific to each participant’s situation regarding eLearning and their questionnaire responses (see Appendix C). One participant only was recruited for interview from one of the institutions. The data from the interviews has been used along with the questionnaire data to formulate both individual case studies (chapter four) and a case study depicting staff development and self-efficacy across the six institutions (chapter five).
  • 45. 39 Chapter Four: Case Studies Of Individuals The six individual case studies presented in this section were selected from the 27 participants who had volunteered for a follow-up individual interview. The six profiles were selected to ensure a balance across areas such as number of years eTeaching, the percentage of teaching delivered online, employing institution, and gender. Other criteria used included ensuring that the six included participants with high and low self- efficacy scores, along with high and low levels of confidence and who had engaged in predominantly formal staff development, informal staff development or a mixture of both. To create the profiles, the participants questionnaire results were combined with their interview using the research questions as the framework to draw out the key information. The research questions were: 1. How do staff development models prepare academic staff for eLearning? • Are staff experiences of eLearning and levels of self-efficacy related to the type of staff development provided: 2. Why are some staff development models more effective than others? • Does the use of metacognitive strategies in professional development have an effect on self-efficacy levels of learners? • Does the level of self-effiacy influence staff experiences of eLearning and how they apply their knowledge to courses using online delivery? 4.1 - Participant 2 An example of a lecturer with little experience using eLearning is Participant 2. Participant 2 has taught vocational courses using traditional methods for the last 9 years, but as at the time of completing the online survey, no programmes or courses were being supported by eLearning in his school/department. Given that this participant has had minimal experience in using eLearning tools in his teaching, it is not surprising that this participant stated that overall he was neither confident nor unconfident in using eLearning tools and methods in his teaching (mean efficacy score = 3). This score was below the mean efficacy score of 3.8 for the study group, indicating that overall he was relatively less confident than the majority of participants. The first question to consider is how Participant 2’s experiences of eLearning and levels of self-efficacy relate to the type of staff development he has engaged in. Participant 2 has engaged in a number of formal courses which have been delivered both online and face to face and is currently studying towards a graduate certificate in eLearning. In addition to studying for a qualification, Participant 2 has also developed knowledge and skills in general computing and in specialist software such as Blackboard, Flash and Dreamweaver, with all formal learning being completed within his employing institution. It would appear that Participant 2 has engaged in a range of formal learning opportunities, but these have not necessarily had an impact on his self-efficacy. Indeed, it would appear that Participant 2 has probably not been able to capitalise on these learning experiences much given that at the time he completed the online survey he had had little opportunity to apply his new learning in his own school. In the post survey interview, Participant 2 identified some of the barriers to implementation of eLearning in his school which included poor access to the necessary hardware (including PC’s for all staff and digital cameras). Participant 2 mentioned that